London Despite Londons proud cultural and artistic heritage, the current administration at City Hall is squeezing the cultural life out of the city by failing to adequately fund Museum London, say the front line workers at the institution.
Promoting London as a cultural destination and as a great city to work and live, is all well and good. But for that vision to take root and grow, our galleries and museums must be well-funded, and the contribution of dedicated staff to the cultural vitality of our community has to be recognized, says Nancy McNeil, a National Representative with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the union that represents 25 mostly full-time workers at the museum and art gallery who are members of Local 217-02.
These contributions include the development of creative childrens art programs, exhibitions showcasing local artists, and walking tours celebrating Londons cultural heritage. In addition to the quality programming they provide, employees at Museum London have shown their commitment to Londons cultural life by donating a portion of their wages to a special endowment fund.
Talk about a selfless contribution and commitment to the arts and culture in London, not to mention the financial health of the museum and gallery. Through substantial donations from wages, these workers have contributed to an endowment fund that has achieved its $1 million goal. But the City is recognizing this contribution to the community by cutting hours of work, possibly closing programs, and threatening lay offs, says McNeil.
the past few months, the unionized workers at both the gallery and museum have been in difficult contract negotiations with the City. However, McNeil is optimistic that, with the help of a Ministry of Labour conciliator, the union will be able to reach a fair wage and benefit settlement, as well as maintain existing programs and hours of operation. A conciliation meeting between the union and the City is set for Tuesday, April 6.
2003 municipal budget shows Museum London received less municipal funding than other cultural services.
ats clear from this under-funding is that the City doesnt value the contribution the museum and gallery make to our cultural life and heritage. We know, as workers, we have more than done our share. Our commitment to our work is second to none. Now its up to the City to show its commitment to workers, and to the art and cultural life of London, says McNeil.
more information, please contact:
CUPE National Representative
(519) 868-3478 (cell)
(416) 578-8778 (cell)