Unions give workers a voice in what goes on in their workplace. Through collectively bargaining, we can win workplace improvements that are legally binding. To vote on constitutions and contracts, take part in elections of officers, and attend contract negotiations, you must be a member of a union.

The union comprises your fellow coworkers.

Union Basics

How does a union improve our workplace?

With a union, we work together to negotiate a legally binding contract with museum management that covers all union-eligible employees. Bargaining allows us to set clear standards for our own working conditions. Once a contract is agreed upon by both parties, and ratified by a vote of the union membership, museum management can not change the terms of the contract.

Being in a union means we have a voice when negotiating with management, and the power to fight for more meaningful improvements than any one of us could achieve working alone.

What goes into a contract?

After a successful election, we will take a survey of union membership to determine what specifics will be addressed in the contract. Using the information gathered, our bargaining committee will begin writing contract proposals addressing issues such as wages, comprehensive trainings, benefits, harassment, and job security. Those proposals will be brought to negotiation sessions with museum management. At these sessions, both sides bring their own proposals and attempt in good faith to compromise.

How are decisions made?

Members can vote on constitutions and contracts, take part in elections of officers, or voice any comments or concerns at our member meetings hosted by elected union officers.

How do dues work?

Dues are a means for members to invest in one another and build a stronger union. Dues are what give unions the means to secure solid contracts and represent employees in disputes with their employer. Dues will be automatically collected by your employer after the union membership votes to ratify our first contract. No member will pay dues up until that contract is approved by a democratic vote.

Can I lose my job or be punished for publicly supporting a union?

It is against the law for management to fire or otherwise punish a union-eligible worker for being a union member or taking part in protected union activities. There is power in numbers, so we encourage workers to be public in their support of the union. If you believe you are being retaliated against because of your support for the union contact us immediately at [email protected]

 It is illegal for management to retaliate against workers for supporting a union.

Our Union

I’m new to the PTM and union-eligible. How do I get involved?

Welcome! We’re glad you’re here. The first step is to sign a digital membership card. Learn more about membership and how to sign up.

I want to know more about the union. Who can help me?

Our union members are thrilled to inform any new PTM staff about the in’s-and-out’s of union membership! contact us at [email protected]

Why did PTM workers form a union? 

We unionized in 2023 to fight for:

  • a fair pay structure, more affordable and comprehensive benefits, and human-centered sick and family leave policies
  • robust and transparent processes for on-boarding, scheduling, job training, and promotion.
  • our right to work in a safe and inclusive space free from discrimination and harassment.

With a seat at the decision-making table, PTM United will have a say in the policies that affect us most.

Who is in the union?

The term for the group of positions covered by a union is called the “bargaining unit.” Eligible workers who hold positions in the bargaining unit can sign up as union members. PTM United’s bargaining unit is made up of your fellow coworkers at PTM including the Visitor Experience, Museum Learning, Exhibits departments and more.

Am I union-eligible?

In general: if you work at the PTM, do not have hiring or firing power, and are not an employee of a third-party contractor, you’re most likely eligible. Email us with your job title at [email protected] for confirmation!

Who is AFSCME DC 47?

Our union is affiliated with the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). AFSCME District Council 47 is a progressive labor union that represents workers in the nonprofit, higher education, and government sectors in the Philadelphia region. AFSCME DC 47 represents workers at the Philadelphia Zoo, the Free Library, the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, The PMA, and the City of Philadelphia. AFSCME recently launched a website about all the AFSCME-affiliated unions at cultural organizations across the country, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Walker Art Museum, Penn Museum, and, now The Please Touch Museum.