Science Museum workers vote to unionize

SMM Workers show their union pride on Instagram @smmworkersunion.

Workers at the Science Museum of Minnesota have voted to form a union.

Council 5 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Workers (AFSCME) announced the election results today. Museum workers petitioned the National Labor Relations Board for a union election in November, and the board tallied votes yesterday.

“Workers at the Science Museum of Minnesota have voted overwhelmingly to join together in a union with the AFSCME Council 5 family, calling for dignity and respect for the work they do,” Council 5 Executive Director Julie Bleyhl said. “In spite of a significant anti-union pressure campaign by Science Museum of Minnesota management, these workers spoke decisively that they seek a voice in the workplace, fair pay for a day’s work, dignified paid leave policies, and more.”

About 250 Science Museum employees were eligible to participate in the union election. The bargaining unit will bring together a wide range of full-time, part-time and seasonal workers, including scientists, researchers, lab technicians and accounting specialists.

Nicole Dzenowski, a paleontologist at the Science Museum, spoke during a rally in support of fellow AFSCME members at the state historical society.

Like other nonprofit workers who have formed unions in recent years, Science Museum employees said they joined together, in part, to increase their say in the organization.

“We want a seat at the table,” paleontologist Nicole Dzenowski said during a rally last month in support of fellow AFSCME members bargaining their first union contract with the Minnesota Historical Society. “Right now we have no ability to be a part of the decisions that affect us.”

Bleyhl said Science Museum workers “will have the full support of our union as they continue their momentum and fight for dignity and respect as they negotiate a first contract with the Science Museum of Minnesota that lifts everyone up.”

Council 5 represents over 43,000 workers, mostly in the public sector. But the union has welcomed over 700 nonprofit workers into its ranks in the last three years, supporting successful union drives at the Walker Art Center, Regions Hospital, Cornerstone Advocacy Service and the Historical Society.

AFSCME says it represents about 35,000 cultural workers nationwide.


  1. James Bradford III says:

    Powerful, amazing, & a great show of unity and strength in numbers with this action. Kudos to you all! ❤️❤️🙌🙌💪💪

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