Be Curious. Get the Facts.
Unions are an effective way for workers to negotiate better working conditions and a voice at the decision making table. Management may feel intimidated by unions and employ scare tactics in an attempt to dissuade employees from joining. However, anti-union rhetoric is as predictable as it is easily disproven.
Email From Management
Below are excerpt from an all-staff email sent by the CEO of the PTM, Trish Wallenabach. Since management has no legal way to retaliate against union members, they employ half-truths and vague language in an attempts to scare potential members from signing up.
“Union busting is a field populated by bullies and built on deceit. A campaign against a union is an assault on individuals and a war on truth. As such, it is a war without honor. The only way to bust a union is to lie, distort, manipulate, threaten, and always, always attack.”
Martin Jay Levitt, 1993, Confessions of a Union Buster
Other Common and Easily Disproven Talking-Points:
Union dues are the financial backbone of the union. Dues of current union members will help pay for our legal representation during our election and contract campaigns. No one will pay dues until a contract is negotiated and ratified by a vote of PTMU members. PTM United will fight for better wages for all workers which will more than offset the dues.
“The union is a 3rd party.”
Although we are partnered with AFSCME District Council 47 and Local 397, our union is made up of a super-majority of PTM staff! All decision making and voting will be carried out exclusively by PTM staff.
“The union may force you to go on strike.”
No, like with every major decision, union members vote to go on strike. The threat of strike is a powerful negotiating tool for unions, however most contracts are reached without a strike. A strike would only be considered as a last resort effort if management refuses negotiate in good faith.
“We support unions, but we don’t need one here!”
A supermajority of staff disagree. An empowered workforce fighting for better working conditions is never a bad thing. PTM is a beloved institution that services over 500,000 children and families from the Philadelphia region and beyond, and it is the hard work and dedication of the staff that makes that possible. PTM United will fight to make the museum a safe and inclusive space free of discrimination and harassment where we can build family-sustaining careers.
“The union can impose a contract without a vote.”
No, we will vote on a contract before it gets ratified.
“We’ll lose our flexibility because of rigid union rules.”
Union rules will protect our jobs and make our workplace safer and more equitable! Guaranteeing better wages, benefits, and working conditions feels like rigidity to an institution not used to providing them; These guarantees liberate the workforce by enabling us to do our jobs in a safe environment, with better job protections, and more power in museum-wide decision making.
“With a union contract, you could gain things, but you could lose things, too.”
The union will be voting on any contract before it is ratified. Nothing can be lost without a vote, and we will not settle. PTM United will fight for better working conditions, pay, and benefits. The same hard work and dedication that makes PTM so beloved is being directed into guaranteeing wall-to-wall improvements for all workers.
“With a union, you won’t be able to talk directly to managers anymore.”
Unless museum management acts illegally or in bad faith, our working relationships with managers won’t change. It is illegal for management to retaliate against any worker for being a part of a union.