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Workers at the California Academy of Sciences Are Unionizing!

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Workers at the California Academy of Sciences are unionizing! As I’m writing this, someone literally just drove by my window blaring John Lennon’s song “Power to the People” which couldn’t be more appropriate.

The past few years have seen the biggest boom in labor union activity in the United States in generations. Nationally we’ve seen unions form at Starbucks, Amazon, Apple, and the New York Times. Locally we’ve seen unionization at Anchor Brewing, Dandelion Chocolate, and Tartine (although it seems that while both Dandelion and Tartine formally unionized, they may not have contracts yet). In the first eight months of of 2022, union representation petitions filed at the National Labor Relations Board jumped an astounding 58%.

And now the the workers at the California Academy of Sciences have announced that they are teaming up with SEIU 1021 to form Cal Academy Workers United. They are joining the ranks of other unionized local museums like the Asian Art Museum, the Exploratorium, the de Young Museum, the Legion of Honor, and SFMOMA. In fact, there are over 50 other Bay Area nonprofit organizations who are part of SEIU 1021.

I talked to NightLife Event Production Specialist, Richie Lipton (who also happens to be one of SF’s best rappers, Richie Cunning) about at the Cal Academy’s unionization. When asked what led to the formation of the union, he said, “I think it’s a lot of different things for different people, but one of the biggest for all is job security.”

While the food service workers won’t be part of the union since that work is handled by an outside company, and there’s some legal discrepancy that won’t allow for the security staff to join either, all the rest of the departments are eligible including, floor staff, biologists, IT, marketing, exhibits, electrical, etc.

Photo of the Cal Academy by Denis Jarvis via Wikimedia Commons

Here’s the official statement from Cal Academy Workers United that was posted on their IG page (I would’ve embedded it but that doesn’t seem to be working on IG right now):

For months, staff across divisions and departments have been quietly working on this campaign and today we are announcing our union in affiliation with @seiu1021 We’re fighting for better wages, job security, and more transparency in decision making. Follow for all the latest updates on our journey to form a union.

We’re excited to be part of a movement for change and hope you’ll stand with us in solidarity. Together, we can build a better future for ourselves, our families, and our planet. 🌎

Want to support this union? Right now they say, “The most impactful way you can SUPPORT US right now is to LIKE and FOLLOW this page and SHARE our posts and stories. Visit the link in our bio to learn more! ✊🏾✊🏼✊🏿✊🏻✊🏽”

As John Lennon sang while someone was driving past my house “Power to the People, right on!”

Read more about Cal Academy Workers United right here.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.