After 19-Day Strike, MASS MoCA Workers Secure Higher Wage


After nearly three weeks of picketing and eight bargaining sessions, 120 workers at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) reached a new wage agreement with the museum yesterday, March 26. Within 30 days, employees unionized with UAW Local 2110 will earn a minimum hourly wage of $18 and receive annual 3.5% salary increases retroactive to January 1, 2024.

In addition, the union also secured time-and-a-half overtime pay for days longer than 10 hours; standard holiday pay for Thanksgiving and Christmas; overtime pay for New Year’s Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day; and a definitive 12.1% pay increase by the second year of the contract agreement.

In a statement shared with Hyperallergic, MASS MoCA Director Kristy Edmunds described the “authentic and productive cooperation” from both parties during the final negotiation meeting last Sunday, March 24. “We ensured that everyone moves forward, rather than back, in what will be remembered as a watershed moment in MASS MoCA history,” she added.

Rain, shine, or snowfall, MASS MoCA’s unionized workers were out with signs throughout the strike.

The union ratified its first contract with the museum in December 2022, securing a clause for renegotiating wages by October 2023, but set a strike deadline of March 6 this year after the bargaining committee and museum could not reach an agreement. At the time, over half of the union members were earning $16.25 an hour (the 2022 contract’s hourly wage floor), thus bringing their full-time annual salary to $43,600 — a few thousand dollars below the calculated annual expenses for a single adult with no children in Berkshire County, Massachusetts.

Ahead of the strike earlier this month, the union was seeking a new wage floor of $18.25 with 4.5% annual increases, and the museum countered with $17.25 an hour and a 3.5% across-the-board salary increase — what leadership described as “its highest offer to date at the bargaining table,” also underscoring that the figure was still above Massachusetts’s $15 minimum wage.

The strike commenced on March 6 as intended and went on for 19 days until the bargaining committee and the museum agreed on the latest figures last Sunday, March 24. The union voted to ratify the proposal yesterday and employees were slated to return to work today, March 27.

In its press statement, the museum shared that it would be closed on Wednesdays for the month of April while managing financial risks at this time, but noted that the six-day schedule would return in May.

“We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with the MASS MoCA that raises minimum pay rates and improves working conditions,” the union’s bargaining committee told Hyperallergic. “We are looking forward to getting back to the jobs we love.”



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