With workers across America forming unions, employees at one major New York arts space have joined the movement.
Staff working front-of-house duties at the Shed, a venue that hosts performances, concerts, exhibitions, and live events of different kinds in the city’s newly developed Hudson Yards neighborhood, have pushed to unionize, according to Hyperallergic, which first reported the news on Wednesday night. The workers are seeking to join Local 2110 UAW, which also includes the New Museum Union and the Museum of Modern Art’s union.
The potential Shed union reportedly comprises workers in the visitor experience department as well as gallery guides, ticket takers, ushers, and part-time employees. They have claimed that the Shed’s standards for working are “not up to par” and that the space has been ambiguous about what was expected from them as workers.
Over the past year, a wave of employees at museums across America have pushed to unionize. Much of the action has been centered on New York, with workers at the New Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and elsewhere having successfully formed unions, though the movement has also begun reaching other cities. Employees at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle unionized, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles voluntarily recognized its workers’ efforts to form a union.
The Shed workers’ efforts come just months after the arts space faced criticism for the presence of Stephen Ross, a real estate developer who held a fundraiser for Donald Trump last summer, on its board. Artist Thanuska Yakupitiyage, who was commissioned to present a performance at the Shed, was among those who publicly criticized Ross, asking whether the space reflected the values of the artists who showed there. At the end of December, Ross quietly resigned from the Shed’s board “to focus on his other philanthropic activities.”