KidSpace employees and members of KidSpace United gathered at a press conference outside the popular children’s museum in Brookside Park Wednesday afternoon to request “voluntary recognition” of their union by Kidspace Children’s Museum.
The approximately 60 workers at KidSpace would be the first unionized children’s museum in Los Angeles County, and a majority of workers have already signed union authorization cards, according to a representative of the group. Members of Kidspace United are also supported by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.
“Members of Kidspace United seek voluntary recognition from Kidspace Children’s Museum in order to avoid a lengthy and costly election process through the National Labor Relations Board and to follow suit with Academy Museum, Academy Foundation, and Museum of Contemporary Art employers in Los Angeles, who all agreed to voluntarily recognize their employee’s unions,” the group said in a statement Wednesday.
PUSD Board Member Patrice Marshall McKenzie joined the dozen or workers in support of the proposed union, saying, “I grew up with a child here, going to KidSpace, and I am super excited to see that this institution is still here, but I also firmly believe in the rights of workers to be able to organize and to have collective bargaining rights, and to be able to build a working environment that provides for a good quality of life.”
Lisa Palombi, president of AFSCME, Local 626, said, “There is a need for workers in cultural organizations like museums, and libraries, and botanical gardens to come together, to bring up their own standard of living. Those institutions are notorious for preying on and taking advantage of the passion that we have for this work, and so we come together now as workers, and that is what KidSpace United is going to be doing.
“We come to these fields as individuals,” she continued, “and we come as creatives, we come as unique voices, but that doesn’t mean we can’t come together and stand behind each other and lift those voices up.”
According to KidSpace Chief Operating Officer Ralph Barnes, KidSpace CEO Lisa Clements was on vacation and was unavailable for comment on the proposed union.