CMA Workers Unanimously Ratify Union Contract - Historic Union Contract is a First for Union Museum Employees in Central Ohio


For Immediate Release 

Contact: Namita Waghray ([email protected] / (440) 305-1117 

January 31, 2024 

 CMA Workers Unanimously Ratify Union Contract  

Historic Union Contract is a First for Union Museum Employees in Central Ohio  

Columbus, OH — Museum employees at the Columbus Museum of Art have officially ratified their first union contract. The Columbus Museum of Art Workers United affiliated with AFSCME Ohio Council 8 held their ratification vote on January 9, 2024, with union employees voting unanimously in favor of the contractCMA Board of Trustees followed suit, ratifying the agreement on January 29, 2024. The multiyear contract addresses many of the concerns employees raised when they first began organizing at the museum. The newly ratified contract will include across the board wage increases and enhanced benefits. The contract also includes improved job security policies, and the opportunity to address the working conditions that Columbus Museum of Art employees face.  

We formed our union because we knew the only chance we had to meaningfully address many of the concerns we faced as individual employees could only be addressed together as a union. This organizing campaign and ratified contract has solidified my commitment to working in the arts while creating a sustainable and equitable workplace.” Blake Thompson, CMA Employee, CMAWU Union President 

Union employees were also able to negotiate clear policies that create a detailed process for paid sick leave, the accrual of vacation, as well as the establishment a labor management committee that gives employees the opportunity to address workplace issues with management on a regular basis. CMAWU members believe that many of the negotiated changes will directly address two of their main reasons for forming a union - the high rate of turnover and improving workplace culture.  

This historic contract gives me hope. As a museum employee, I know that while we didn’t achieve all our contract goals, we were able to establish union rights and a clear accountability process with CMA administration. I look forward to working with my coworkers to ensure that this union contract is properly implemented, followed, and enforced. This union contract helps employees and CMA live up to its purpose. - RG Barton, CMA employee, CMAWU member 

While the organizing drive and negotiations process began almost two years ago, CMA union members were grateful for the support they found among each other, as well as the larger labor and Columbus community. CMA Workers United was one of the first museums in the Columbus area to file for their union. Since then, museums and other cultural institutions across the state have reached out to AFSCME Ohio Council 8 to organize their own workplaces setting higher standards for cultural employees.  

Columbus Museum of Art employees are part of a revitalized union organizing movement in cultural workplaces across Columbus and Ohio. These union leaders have set the stage for other museum and cultural employees to unionize and obtain the dignity and respect they deserve on the job. AFSCME Ohio Council 8 is proud to stand with them and the hundreds of employees from museums, zoos, botanical gardens, and other cultural institutions we represent.” Sean R. Grayson, President, AFSCME Ohio Council 8, AFL- CIO.