Union Victory for Art Museum Guards
In 1992 security guards at the Philadelphia Museum of Art had their union busted by Mayor Rendell who privatized what were once decent city jobs amidst the Philly budget crisis of the early 90’s. Art Museum guards made $14/hr back in 1992, in 2009 dollars that would amount to somewhere in between $20-22/hr.
Security guards at the Philadelphia Museum of Art now work not for the city, but for AlliedBarton, a national firm that provides security services to many major institutions in the region and nationwide. Today they are paid a wage of $10.03/ hr, which is hardly enough to scrape by on.
But for two years guards at the Philadelphia Museum of Art have been doing something and it’s starting to pay off. They’ve been organizing their own union in coalition with the Philadelphia Officers and Workers Rising campaign (POWR), a joint effort of rank and file security officers and Philadelphia Jobs With Justice.
Now after two years of talking to their co-workers, reaching out for support from other Philadelphians and mobilizing for rallies they can claim an important victory in their struggle for family sustaining wages, good benefits and dignity. On October 11th and 12th art museum guards voted 68 to 55 to form an independent union, The Philadelphia Security Officers Union (PSOU).
With the amount of resources that companies will throw into undermining a union organizing effort these days, it’s a huge success that art museum guards now have a union. But these guards aren’t going to stop here!
AlliedBarton is going to do everything in it's power to stop PSOU from getting a good first contract.And you better believe that PSOU is going to keep organizing and fighting for better wages, benefits and working conditions.
We at the defenestrator hope to keep you up to date with all the good news that’s to come and wish the best of luck to security guards organizing throughout the city.
More information, to get involved, or show solidarity: