Philadelphia Museum of Art Reaches Tentative Deal to End Strike
“It was always going to be a challenge,” he says. “At some point, I’m not going to be here, and I’m going to have to make my own way.”
As the long-running labor dispute between the Museum of the African Diaspora and the Boston-based union that represents its curators and staff continued this week, the museum’s president, Stephen C. Pevar, joined the staff in a strike-relief agreement last month.
But as the union’s talks broke down, the museum made a counteroffer and took the union to a mediation session, where the museum agreed to offer three conditions on a proposed long-term deal: a five-year contract, no reductions in workers’ severance or pension benefits, and no layoffs.
It was a compromise, but it was also a temporary truce.
On Wednesday, the museum, located at 300 Spruce St. in South Boston, issued a press release announcing it had reached an “agreement in principle” with the union that would end the strike and bring about “a better future” for museum workers.
“After long and sometimes hard negotiations, we have agreed to a new contract,” the statement read. “A good agreement, one that allows us to maintain the Museum’s core mission” with “a robust schedule of exhibitions,” a “solid business plan,” and an “ongoing dialogue about the future,” it said.
The museum, the release continued, “is in the process of negotiating a new contract with its team of curators, art historian, and staff” whose salaries and benefits have been frozen since last fall’s strike.
The museum is “deeply disappointed” with the union’s unwillingness to negotiate its proposed changes, the staff union said. “They have rejected our reasonable and fair proposals in favor of demands that amount to nothing more than ‘no deal,’” said the union’s Executive Director, Jeff Smith.
“The museum’s refusal to offer real concessions does not represent a victory for workers or an agreement with the museum on the real issues,” Smith said in a written