By Alina Liriano
On Black Friday, join AFSCME members and community allies across the country as they demonstrate outside Guess stores and demand that the Marciano family re-open MAF, reinstate the workers and recognize their union! This is a nationwide action.
Workers at the Marciano Art Foundation (MAF) were fired by the Marciano family earlier this month just 4 days after they petitioned to create their union with AFSCME Council 36 in Los Angeles. Workers were not requesting anything out of the ordinary: they wanted to be treated fairly, given access to water fountains, the ability to manage their own schedules and be compensated above minimum wage.
Due to the abrupt terminations, the Marciano’s are ruining the well beings of their employees, and right before the holidays to make matters worse. With no income coming in and little time before the holidays, workers at MAF are facing deliberate hardships that could have been preventable by the implementation of fair worker’s rights. Luckily for them, the union they created with AFSCME Council 36 will give workers the liberty to construct ways to improve their workplace, maintain their personal lives, and help support their community.
Laid off in retaliation for the unionization push, workers at MAF wanted to highlight unfair conditions in the workplace and pay disparities in the art real in general. “Visitors Services Associates” oversaw galleries, educated visitors on the exhibits, and were the employees that began the talk of organizing a union. Shortly after, an email was sent stating that because of “low attendance” the MAF will be shutting down and as a result, employees will be let go. In an Instagram posting, the union’s content creator described the controversy as a “gross obstruction of worker’s rights” and “a complete disregard for its employees and their livelihoods.” Since then, former MAF workers have filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, the foundation is currently under investigation.
In 2017, brothers Maurice and Paul Marciano opened MAF as a nonprofit museum that showcased the brothers’ extensive contemporary art collection and travelling excursions. In the art world, these types of exhibits are known as “vanity museums,” a platform where rich collectors can be granted tax breaks for showcasing their collectibles while their pieces increase in value. See the problem here?