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Carnegie Museums workers approve first union contract, including pay raises

A sign for the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History on the large stone building.
Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA
The United Museum Workers union announced Thursday its members had ratified their first contract with the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

The United Museum Workers union announced Thursday its members had ratified their first contract with the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

The more than 500 union members voted to approve the four-year pact, which raises base pay at the museums from $12 an hour to $16 an hour. Most workers will see immediate raises ranging from 15% to 35%, according to the union. Union members already earning more than $16 an hour will also receive raises, according to the museum.

Union spokesperson Chelsey Engel said 98% of the votes were in favor of ratification, but declined to provide vote totals.

The union represents curators, scientists, art handlers, educators, gallery attendants, grant writers and other workers at the Carnegie Museums of art and natural history, The Andy Warhol Museum, and the Carnegie Science Center.

It formed in 2020 as part of the United Steelworkers and has been in negotiations with the museum since September 2021.

“This agreement is a major accomplishment not just for these members but for the region’s entire nonprofit sector,” said union district director Bernie Hall, in a statement.

The agreement also includes the establishment of a health and safety committee, anti-discrimination and seniority language, and more sick time for part-time workers.

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“This contract demonstrates what’s possible when workers organize and bargain collectively,” Jenise Brown, a part-time educator at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, said in a statement. “This is only the beginning, and I can’t wait to see what we all can accomplish together in the future.”

In a statement, Carnegie Museums president and CEO Steven Knapp called the contract “a fair, forward-looking agreement that benefits not only staff who are represented by the union but the entire Carnegie Museums community.”

Knapp added, “Our talented colleagues — union and non-union — are all deeply committed to the public-serving mission of our museums, and this contract lays the foundation for continuing to build a flourishing future together.”

Bill is a long-time Pittsburgh-based journalist specializing in the arts and the environment. Previous to working at WESA, he spent 21 years at the weekly Pittsburgh City Paper, the last 14 as Arts & Entertainment editor. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and in 30-plus years as a journalist has freelanced for publications including In Pittsburgh, The Nation, E: The Environmental Magazine, American Theatre, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Bill has earned numerous Golden Quill awards from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania. He lives in the neighborhood of Manchester, and he once milked a goat. Email: