Support grows for unionization effort at Storm King Art Center


CORNWALL – An effort to unionize by employees of the Storm King Art Center in Cornwall has been ongoing for over a year and now awaits a decision from the National Labor Relations Board.

The workers would like to join the Civil Service Employees Association.

Visitors’ Services Attendant Marques Villaronga, a member of the organizing committee, said the arts center is arguing that the attendants are actually security guards and should not be in the same negotiating unit as the office personnel. The organizers maintain the attendants are not security guards and should be in the same bargaining unit as the officer personnel.

Villaronga said a decision from the NLRB should be forthcoming in the next several weeks.

Meanwhile, Assemblyman Christopher Eachus (D-New Windsor) has written a letter in support of the employees at the Storm King Art Center (SKAC) who have been fighting to have the center voluntarily recognize their union since last year.

Citing the need for equitable wages and benefits, the alignment of compensation and workplace protections for visitor services, maintenance, curatorial, and development employees, the organizers continue to ramp-up their push to form the SKAC workers union.

In a letter sent to SKAC President John Stern, Assemblyman Eachus voiced his support for workers, stating, “I am writing this letter to express my full support of the workers of the Strom King Art Center (SKAC) organizing with CSEA,” he said.

The workers are part of the Cultural Workers United coalition headed up by CSEA’s international union, AFSCME. In New York, AFSCME represents the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Brooklyn Museum.

According to CSEA, the art center has retained the law firm of Zelman, Rothermel, Jacobs, & Schess located on Madison Avenue in New York City.  The services listed on the firm’s website include “preventive and union avoidance measures” as well as “responding to union organizing campaigns.”

A spokeswoman for the arts center did not respond to a request for comment.

In the last set of publicly available financial statements on their website, SKAC increased net assets from unrestricted operating income by just over $5.3 million in 2020.  Additionally, the unionization effort comes at a time when the center is set to begin a $45 million capital renovation of its entire campus, which was announced in April of 2022.

“The labor of the people on the ground at SKAC is pivotal in the continued success and growth of this institution,” wrote Eachus.  “I am proud to support the SKAC workers, and hope for successful conversations between the workers and management.”