Eastern State Penitentiary museum workers win USW representation in Philadelphia

Contact: Chelsey Engel, cengel@usw.org, (412) 212-8173

(Pittsburgh) – The United Steelworkers (USW) announced Wednesday that workers at the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site in Philadelphia voted overwhelmingly in favor of union representation in a ballot election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board.

United Steelworkers District 10 Director Bernie Hall said the 65 employees at the museum recognize that a strong union provides everyone with a voice on the job.

“These workers love what they do, and they know having union representation will only make their jobs safer and ensure an even more fulfilling experience for museum visitors,” said Hall.

Workers at the historic prison serve as educators, retail employees, administrative staff, and more. The group decided to organize in order to collectively address health and safety concerns, transparency with scheduling, protections against discrimination, and competitive pay.

“This museum is incredibly important to this city’s history and its future,” said Joshua Lewis, who works at the site as an educator. “We want to make sure its legacy endures.”

The USW will be reaching out to museum management to schedule dates for negotiations.

The USW represents 850,000 workers employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in health care, public sector, higher education, tech and service occupations.



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