Employees of the Portland Museum of Art have voted to unionize.

The results of the election were confirmed Thursday night by both sides.

Graeme Kennedy, director of strategic communications and public relations for the museum, said in an email that the votes, which were impounded in December, were counted Thursday, and the outcome was 16-10 in favor.

“We won! The votes are in and a majority of PMA staff voted UNION YES!” museum workers tweeted Thursday night. “We are grateful for all the support we’ve received throughout this process, and look forward to working with all of our colleagues to build a stronger and more sustainable PMA!”

Maida Rosenstein, president of United Auto Workers Local 2110, which represents technical, professional and office workers, reacted to the vote in an email.

“The ballots were at long last counted in a union election whose results had been held up because of the Museum’s legal appeal to the NLRB in Washington, D.C.,” Rosenstein said, referring to the National Labor Relations Board.  “The union won the election and will now be certified. We look forward to bargaining a contract that will allow staff to address their working conditions at the Museum and have a democratic voice in their employment.”


Kennedy said the museum accepts the results of the election and is looking forward to bargaining in good faith with Local 2110.

“We are dedicated to finding common ground throughout this process and will work with Local 2110 to ensure the museum’s vision and values, which are centered in inclusivity, equity, and transparency, are reflected in any agreement,” Kennedy said. “We continue to be dedicated to partnering with our staff as we build a stronger, more equitable museum, together.”

Earlier this month, the museum won a victory in its dispute with union organizers over the eligibility of gallery ambassadors to join a local bargaining unit. The NLRB ruled that those employees perform security functions and should be treated as security guards, which means they were not eligible for membership in the proposed bargaining unit.

The NLRB’s 3-0 decision reversed a regional labor board’s ruling in November that gallery ambassadors were eligible to join Local 2110. The reversal left the decision to unionize up to those employees who had been deemed eligible to be represented by Local 2110.

The union, based in New York, represents educational and cultural institutions in New York and New England.

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