When Budget Choices Arise, Think Long Term

The current administration at the Philadelphia Museum of Art has been indifferent to our calls for justice (except for granting our folks up to three days of paid sick leave in Sept 2008). I've dealt with a lot of institutions in our city who are short changing workers and I can say, without a doubt, that all of them have acted more reasonably. However, if you look back at the history of the guards at the museum, it becomes more clear where they have gotten this attitude from.

Our city's last major budget crisis occurred in 1992. Mayor Ed Rendell had just won his election and started his first days in office with a city that was, much like today, in deep fiscal trouble.

He was fighting to take away a lot from the city's municipal workers. The unions fought hard and even went on strike. Mayor Rendell was able to get many of the concessions that he wanted. The unions lost much and to this day, the city union leaders vow, "never again."


Workers Wonder If Rub Will Heal Division

Philadelphia, PA – The Philadelphia Museum of Art is apparently not immune from the recession. Like other leading institutions of the arts, the museum has seen some of its income fall sharply. In February, management announced that in order to close an expected $1.7 million budget deficit the museum would need to lay off 15 staff, raise ticket prices by $2 to $6 each, and reduce “Free Sundays” to only once a month. The cruelest cut was announced months later, in June, when museum guards earning between $16,000 and $20,000 a year learned they would not receive their promised $0.25 an hour raise.

“I couldn’t believe it – they were taking our raise,” said a security guard with contractor Allied Barton. “Our raise is a drop in the bucket to the museum.”


CEO Harrity Displays Similar Show As Last Year But There Is New Reason To Be Hopeful

Philadelphia, PA- A delegation of security guards and supporters were turned away from the staff entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art without achieving their goal: delivering a letter to the office of CEO, Gail Harrity.

The delegation included security guards Cecelia Lynch, Juanita Love and Thomas Robinson and supporters; Paul Dannenfelser (President of AFSCME Local 2187), Lance Geren, Esq.(Freedman and Lorry), Fabricio Rodriguez and Eduardo Soriano (Jobs with Justice) and members from the Students for Democratic Society (Robin Markle and Jeff Rousset) and the Student Labor Action Project (Kate Harkins and Amanda Ahlesmeyer).

The small group arrived at the Perelman Annex of the museum at 8:50 a.m. and spoke with the AlliedBarton security guard at the front desk. They were quickly referred to the captain of daytime security.

New Museum CEO Rub Welcomed By Philadelphia Security Guards: Guard Union Requests Talks

Philadelphia Security Officers Union
Office: 1315 Spruce St. #331 Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: 215.670-5857 www.phillyjwj.org

For Immediate Release

Contact: Thomas Robinson, Chairman
Philadelphia Security Officers Union - Mobile: 215-779-1333

New Museum CEO Rub Welcomed By Philadelphia Security Guards: Guard Union Requests Talks

Philadelphia, PA- A delegation of security guards from the Philadelphia Museum of Art and their supporters in Cleveland, Ohio and Philadelphia, PA plan to hand-deliver a letter to Timothy Rub the newly-named, incoming CEO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art asking for a dialogue about working conditions.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art named Mr. Rub the new director on June 30.

Chamber of Commerce: Campaign of Lies Against EFCA

Mark Schwieker and the Chamber of Commerce are trying to prevent the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act with a campaign of lies!

WHAT: Protest the Chamber of Commerce's Campaign of Lies Against the Employee Free Choice Act

WHEN: Wed., June 3, 2009 at 5 pm SHARP!

WHERE: The Bellevue Hotel, 200 S. Broad St.

Mark Schweiker and the Chamber of Commerce are actively fighting the Employee Free Choice Act. It's one thing to have a difference of opinion about how people should form a union, but lying about what the Employee Free Choice Act will do is another.

Mark Schwieker and his friends at the Chamber of Commerce like David L Cohen (known for leading anti-union activity for years at Comcast Corp.) are campaigning against the Employee Free Choice Act in such a dishonest way that it must be hard for them to keep a straight face at times. Here is a sample of what they have been saying:

Museum Guards Say, "We Need EFCA!"

50 percent of the museum’s workers have signed cards authorizing the Philadelphia Security Officer Union (PSOU) to represent them, they still cannot negotiate for better working conditions. That’s because under current federal law, workers lack the right to organize solely through the “card check” process. (PSOU has not requested a federally conducted workplace election because it has no staff and few resources with which to counter potential AlliedBarton anti-union efforts before the vote.)

In Philadelphia, the Underdog Always Wins

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of our cities proudest attractions. In many ways, it is the heart of our city. From the July 4th Welcome America festival to the Live 8 concert, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is the face that Philadelphia shows the world when we want to shine.

Philadelphians show our pride by donating more than $6 million to the museum by way of city contributions, direct payments, subsidies, assistance and special breaks.

Our city has a long and proud working-class history. The museum is known as much for its world-class collections as it for the underdog, working-class champion, Rocky, who bounded up the steps in that iconic film. This love for our working roots has been celebrated in our city laws when our City Council adapted one of the most progressive Prevailing Wage Laws in the country.

POWR Blessing of The Hands Ceremony and Update

POWR Update!

Approximately 70 people attended the Philadelphia Officers and Workers Rising (POWR) campaign rally and "Blessing of the Hands" Ceremony on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Sunday, Sept. 7.

Within hours of our arrival, the museum announced that they were considering starting a new sick-leave policy (up to three days per year for full time workers who have been at the property for three years).

Though this benefit is far from what we have demanded, we are glad to know that the museum is headed in the right direction. We still need your support to make sure that the museum does not stop short of family sustaining wages, affordable health care and a real paid sick-leave policy. You can sign our online petition here

Here is a slide show of some of the speakers...

Hundreds Support Security on Sunday


Activists Hope For Progress Soon

Philadelphia, PA, September 8, 2008- On Sunday, September 7, hundreds of art lovers browsed the galleries at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. They came to see the art and also to make a statement. The message that they wanted to deliver to the museum managers and security guards was printed on stickers that they wore, “My Security Guard Deserves Paid Sick Days.”

“I am sure Gerry Lenfest has heard our demands. More than 2,000 supporters in the last two weeks have stood up for living wages, paid-sick leave and affordable health care for the guards by signing petitions and visiting the museum,” states Fabricio Rodriguez, Executive Director of Jobs with Justice the community organization that is coordinating the effort. Lenfest is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and millionaire philanthropist.

A Message to the Museum From State Representative Babette Josephs

Support these workers by visiting the Museum of Art tomorrow. Grab a support sticker from one of our activists. Thanks!

Faith Leaders Look to City Hall for Leadership

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A faith-based movement to win paid sick-leave is growing in Philadelphia and is now pushing for changes at one of Philadelphia’s most iconic institutions.

A week long celebration of workers, which began in twenty churches in Philadelphia on Labor Day Weekend, will culminate with a “Blessing of the Hands” ceremony at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Sunday, September 7.

Religious Event will call on Museum to Provide Sub-Contracted Workers with Paid Sick-Leave

Contact: Fabricio Rodriguez, Executive Director, Philadelphia Jobs with Justice, 215-670-5855, Fabricio@phillyjwj.org

For Immediate Release: September 3, 2008

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“Blessing of the Hands” Ceremony for Museum Security Guards with Bishop Dwayne Royster

Religious Event will call on Museum to Provide Sub-Contracted Workers with Paid Sick-Leave



20 CONGREGATIONS PRAY FOR SICK-PAY AT PMA- Labor Faithful Press Museum From The Pews

Philadelphia, PA, August 31, 2008- 130 security guards have the important job of taking care of the visitors and collections at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Activists and thousands of supporters this weekend will pray that these guards will soon be treated as well as other city subcontracted workers under the Living Wage Ordinance.

The Living Wage Ordinance which was signed by Mayor Michael Nutter in April 2008 states that city-supported businesses and sub-contractors must pay employees $10.67 per hour and benefits. The security officers at the Philadelphia Museum are paid $10.16 per hour. The Philadelphia Museum of Art, though it receives $2.5 million from the City of Philadelphia, roughly two-thirds of what the museum spends on security, the resources are considered a general contribution.

This Labor Day Tell Museum "No Sick Days? No Tax Money!"

Philadelphian's have expressed their moral values for the way that we expect workers to be treated when City Council passed the Living Wage Ordinance. The Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) has taken more than $10 million in tax payer money and many millions more in donated facilities. Despite the museums reliance on the support of Philadelphians, the PMA leaders scoff at the moral values expressed by the Living Wage Ordinance. The PMA is using your tax money to harm workers. This Labor Day, stand up to the PMA with the POWR campaign.

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