Nonprofit Museum Employees Strike Over Pay

Just before Plimoth Plantation’s busiest day of the year – Thanksgiving – union members are tyring to bring public pressure on their employer to agree to an initial contract. Plimoth, which uses the colonial-era spelling, is a nonprofit museum founded in 1947. Located near the original Plymouth Colony site in Massachusetts, the museum educates about daily life in the 1600s, with workers portraying Pilgrims and Native Americans inhabitants of the era.

The Society of Allied Museum professionals won a representation election a year ago to represent 70 of the museum’s 180 workers, including living history educators, artisans, and maintenance workers.

The union is asking for $13 per hour and for pay to reach at least $15 an hour in 2018. That was a nonstarter during negotiations. Per the museum, “Despite the fact that Plimoth Plantation, like more other living history museums across the country, is experiencing decreasing revenues, the United Auto Workers have proposed that employees receive economic increase as large as 36%, potentially adding almost $1 million to the Museum’s operating budget within the first year of the proposed contract.”

And since I know what everyone is thinking: No one work Puritan or Native American costumes while on the picket line.

Matt Austin owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can reach Matt by calling him at (614) 843-3041 or emailing him at