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Art Museum Unions Index Roundtable Discussion (April 2024)

Recording of From PASTA to the New Museum: A Deep Dive into Local 2110’s History of Union Organizing in Art Museums

In our research for the Art Museum Unions Index, MMF has found a rich and complicated history of labor unions in art museums. Through archival research and interviews, we have identified a general consensus that we are currently in a second “wave” of labor organizing after a first wave in the early 1970s. This 90-minute webinar traced the undercurrents between these two waves through a case study of one city (New York City) and one local union (United Auto Workers Local 2110) to better understand the current wave within a broader history of organized labor in art museums.

In 1971, the Professional and Administrative Staff Association (PASTA) of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) became the first legal union of so-called professional workers in a US art museum when it affiliated with the Distributive Workers of America (after the DWA merged with UAW in 1980, PASTA MoMA officially became a Local 2110 union). After nearly five decades—a period of relatively few new museum union campaigns—the New Museum organized with UAW Local 2110, setting off a series of arts institutions to form unions at a speed never before seen in the sector.

During this session, we brought the data from the Art Museum Unions Index to life through a moderated conversation with workers and organizers who catalyzed these two waves in New York City: Maureen Robinson, Eden Schulz, Maida Rosenstein, and Dana Kopel.

This session was the first in a series of deep dives into the Art Museum Unions Index, a new research project from MMF. The full project is available to view and comment on via MMF’s website.


Dana Kopel (New Museum, 2016–2020)

Eden Schulz (MoMA, 1997–2000 & UAW Local 2110, 2000–2014)

Maureen Robinson (MoMA, 1969–1974)

Maida Rosenstein (UAW Local 2110)


Amanda Tobin Ripley | Doctoral candidate at The Ohio State University researching museum equity and former worker-organizer at MASS MoCA, UAW Local 2110