Since the Museum is not committed to supporting employees during this time, we, a group within the Tenement Museum Bargaining Unit, organized a Mutual Aid In Hardship Fund on Saturday, March 14th. Our Bargaining Unit represents Tenement Museum front-facing staff in Education, Visitor Services, Retail and Advance Sales, who voted 74 to 3 for a union on April 15, 2019. Since that time, the Bargaining Committee, with the support of the members, has been working to negotiate a first contract.
On Thursday, March 19th, we saw that the Museum had launched a $250,000 fundraiser for their expenses, but with no mention of sustaining or supporting their staff. We want the Museum to be saved too, but believe that sustaining and supporting employees during this time is critical to achieving that goal and to making it possible to reopen the Museum.
Where will our donations go?
At this time we are helping to pay bills, debt (such as, student loans), medical expenses and rent of Tenement Museum employees, both in and out of the Bargaining Unit. 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 have an online survey that asks for an image of the bill and information about how much (if anything) the individual can pay towards it. We are trying 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 withdraw and distribute the money?
We are withdrawing the money into a separate account that has been established specifically for this purpose. Then we will be sending checks to landlords and directly paying bills either online or by phone.
What will you do with leftover funds?
When the Museum reopens, we will cover any outstanding or new expenses for the first two weeks (before returning employees are paid) and then will donate any remaining funds to an immigrant legal aid fund, agreed upon by the union members.
Who you are and where you’re from: We, Cara-Lynne Thomas and Nicole Daniels, are volunteers on the Tenement Museum Union Bargaining Committee and are based in New York City.
Your relationship or contact to the parties you are raising funds for: We are friends and colleagues with the people we are raising funds for.