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Children's Museum of Pittsburgh workers vote to unionize

 A stone building with a green dome on top.
Shreya Singh
90.5 WESA
Some 65 workers at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh are now members of the United Steelworkers.

Workers at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh voted Wednesday to join the United Steelworkers union. The 65 newly unionized workers include educators, events staff, cleaning staff, exhibit technicians, retail associates, visitor services staff and more.

In announcing their plan to unionize in March, Children’s Museum workers said they sought improved workplace health and safety, “greater patron satisfaction,” and more transparent internal communication. A USW spokesperson said the union does not release vote totals, but called the tally “overwhelming” in favor of unionizing.

“It feels great,” said Annette Mihalko, an arts educator at the museum who helped organize the union drive. “We’re really excited to be able to finally have our voice” in the workplace.

In a statement, the Children’s Museum said: “Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is focused on providing joy, curiosity, creativity and kindness to children and families that visit our museum, and we are grateful for the staff and colleagues that bring that mission to life. We are in ongoing contact with the National Labor Relations Board to have open, meaningful, and productive negotiations that continue to provide all employees with best possible working environment.”

The Children’s Museum employees follow more than 500 workers at the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh who joined the USW in 2021. As of last year, the Carnegie Museum workers comprised the nation’s largest museum union. They finalized their first contract last June.

The USW is among the nation’s largest unions. It represents 850,000 workers in metals, mining, and other heavy industries, along with an increasing number of workers in health care, the public sector, higher education, tech and service occupations.

Mihalik said the museum workers’ next step is to elect a bargaining committee to begin negotiations on the unit’s first contract.

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: