Philadelphia Museum of Art employees ready to strike beginning Monday

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Union workers at the Philadelphia Museum of Art say they will go on strike beginning Monday if an agreement isn’t made in their contract over the weekend.

Museum employees who are members of Local 397 staged a day-long warning strike last Friday. But now, early next week, they are swearing that if they don’t get what they want, it will be in the long run.

“I find it really disappointing to see a museum that is so wonderful and that we all love treat its staff so poorly,” said Adam Rizzi, President of Local 397.

Rizzo says they’ve been trying to negotiate their contract for the past two years. But they’re not making progress when it comes to two key components.

One is the reward.

“We are only asking for a living wage. The people at the museum work two jobs just to make ends meet. Many of the positions at the museum require at least a master’s degree. So a lot of people are burdened with debt,” Rizzo said.

The other is affordable healthcare.

“Ninety percent of the people in the unit, and that’s about 190 people, have a high-deductible health insurance plan. That means we can’t afford to go to the doctor even though we have health care,” Rizzo said.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the art museum released a statement, part of which reads:

“The museum is deeply disappointed that the union has decided to go on strike again. We worked very hard at the negotiating table this week to avoid that outcome.”

Rizzo adds that they are more than willing to negotiate throughout the weekend. He hopes there won’t be a strike.

Museum officials say it will still be open on Monday despite a strike.

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