AFSCME Local 526, which represents the workers at the Milwaukee Public Museum, held a major picket line Tuesday evening to protest the unexpected layoffs announced over a month ago by the Milwaukee Public Museum. The picket line was filled with AFSCME Local 526 members, AFSCME retirees, union members from an array of unions, museum members and community supporters. Community supporters, museum members, staff, and members from AFSCME Council 32, the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, and the Milwaukee Area Labor Council joined the picket line to defend the work that has made MPM a beloved community resource for generations of Milwaukee families and demand further transparency regarding the reasons for the layoffs.
"It's been four weeks since our laid-off colleagues' last day in the office," said Jaclyn J. Kelly, president of Local 526, "and little, if anything, seems to be improving. Staff morale is at a low not seen since the 2005 layoffs, and the community is deeply concerned about the experience they'll be getting at the museum going forward."
WI AFL-CIO President Neuenfeldt joined the picket and addressed the crowd, "I remember coming here as a child seeing the dinosaurs. I have great memories of coming to this museum as a child and then bringing my kids and now my grandkids. The Milwaukee Public Museum connects generations, bringing families together to learn about history, nature, the origins of the human race -- all this is not possible without the men and women behind the scenes, dedicated to researching exhibits, imagining new possibilities and bringing life to new themes. This museum belongs to our community and we as the community are here to say that museum workers should be treated fairly, with respect. Today, we stand shoulder-to-shoulder to save jobs and protect the union rights of workers."