Protest Against Art Museum Funding

Union To Protest Against Art Museum Funding

On April 11, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will request $2.4 million in city funds for ongoing security at the Parkway endzone. They’ll do so before City Council at 12:45 pm and will be met by a mass protest organized by the Philadelphia Security Officers Union.

For over a year now, the union has been fighting with the subcontracted security company AlliedBarton, trying to reach a collective bargaining agreement on wages. Last May, Museum COO Gail Harrity, under pressure from City Council, sent a letter to Council President Anna Verna stating the museum would make sure wage levels met the Philadelphia Living Wage Ordinance, of $10.88 per hour (150 percent of the state, and now federal, minimum wage) and minimum health insurance.

But union Treasurer Sulaiman Kamara states that AlliedBarton never offered anything close to a living wage. Union organizer Fabricio Rodriguez puts blame on both the contracted company and the museum, saying one of them must be held accountable.

Several councilmembers, most notably Bill Greenlee and Jannie Blackwell, have stated support of the museum getting rid of AlliedBarton. And for their part, the museum has continually asked AlliedBarton to negotiate and put an end to this.

An amendment was proposed earlier this week to remove funding to the Philadelphia Museum of Art over the matter.

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