On Friday, March 13th, the Museum of Contemporary Art closed its galleries in the interest of protecting staff and visitors from the coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, March 24th, MOCA laid off all 97 of the museum’s part-time employees, including gallery attendants, exhibition installers, audio-visual technicians, retail and education staff. Management has announced that all part-time workers will only be paid through the end of March. Although management insists that the museum will open again, there are no estimates on when that will be. In these times of uncertainty, many of us need immediate financial assistance.
MOCA’s staff recently made headlines after successfully forming a union in order to fight for better working conditions. As a result, we are currently working on negotiating with MOCA for additional economic assistance in this time of crisis. We know that is not going to be enough for many of our co-workers to survive on in the coming months.
MOCA’s newly established union has fostered a deep sense of community and mutual support. In continuation of this spirit, we, MOCA’s union organizers, have decided to create a Mutual Aid-In-Hardship Fund.
We hope to raise $50,000, which would provide each of the museum’s 97 laid off employees at least $500. For some members, that’s the equivalent of 1 paycheck from MOCA. Most of MOCA’s staff live paycheck to paycheck and without health insurance. $500 would go a long way towards helping impacted employees with their rent and other bills.
Lastly, many of MOCA’s staff are artists, art historians, educators and researchers. We are looking to our greater community for assistance. We would be enormously grateful for any help you are able to offer.
The MOCA Union
Where will our donations go?
They will help to pay bills, medical expenses and rent for people in the Union. We are committed to paying at least a portion of every request that we receive within the time staff is out of work.
How do you decide who gets help?
We will create a survey that asks for information about each employee’s level of need. We will try to ensure everyone gets the help they need, while also trying to fairly account for the range of needs and options that people have.
How do you distribute the money?
We will send checks directly or either online or by phone.
What will you do with leftover funds?
We will use remaining funds to help full-time staff who may be laid off or who may need financial assistance in the future.
Will you help people outside of the Unit?
Instead of focusing on who management allows in the Union, we want to prioritize helping those who have lost all sources of income during this crisis. If someone outside of our bargaining unit is in need and laid off, we will review their case once we reach $25,000, half of our $50,000 goal.