Workers at the Milwaukee Art Museum have launched a mutual aid effort in order to help their co-workers impacted by COVID-related furloughs, lay-offs, and contract terminations, or who are otherwise in financial hardship. The first project of the MAM workers’ Mutual Aid Committee is to raise funds through a GoFundMe page set up to help workers of the Milwaukee Art Museum: https://www.gofundme.com/f/milwaukee-art-museum-furloughed-workers-fund.
On Tuesday, December 1, 2020 the Milwaukee Art Museum began a second round of furloughs stemming from the City of Milwaukee’s Phase 4.2 COVID-19 Order Update. The first round, from early June, is still ongoing. Many workers furloughed in this second round had already experienced furloughs in June, before MAM reopened to the public in July. Currently, nearly 100 workers are furloughed from the museum.
With rising COVID-19 cases, the museum management rightfully decided to close MAM’s doors to keep its staff and the public safe. However, many MAM workers now find themselves without a source of income, right before the holiday season, in the face of end-of-year bills, and with increased heating costs due to the upcoming winter.
MAM workers are the heart and soul of the museum. The mutual aid effort stems from the collective care and solidarity inspired by a recent successful union organizing campaign at MAM, which resulted in 72% of voters choosing to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) District 10. MAM workers and MAM management are currently preparing for first contract negotiations.
Anyone employed by the Milwaukee Art Museum who has been affected by furloughs, layoffs, and contract terminations since March of 2020, or who experience other unspecified financial hardships as a result of employment uncertainty is eligible to apply. The MAM Worker Fund will make gifts of $150 in the order the requests are received on a rolling basis, as funding permits. The first round of disbursements will go out in the New Year (January 2021).
The MAM Mutual Aid Committee is actively seeking collaborators on further initiatives, such as food drives, time banking, and other ways to support our MAM community. To join us, please contact mamioc2020 [at] gmail [dot] com.