This 2015 file photo of the Portland Museum of Art's biennial "You Can't Get There From Here," is on till January 3rd. Credit: Kathleen Pierce / BDN

The union that would represent workers at the Portland Museum of Art is accusing PMA management of employing union-busting tactics to prevent about 70 employees from organizing.

UAW Local 2110 — the Technical, Office and Professional Union — represents employees at cultural institutions. Union president Maida Rosenstein says PMA management is trying, through the National Labor Relations Board, to force the union vote to be indoors and at set times rather than by mail. She says during a pandemic, that’s a health and safety concern and is also designed to keep some potential members away.

“It’s also designed to make it less accessible for those who are part time and have shifts that are not regular-business-hour shifts,” she says. “Wanting to unionize is about having a democratic voice in their own conditions of employment, it’s not an attack on the museum, and it’s certainly not inconsistent with their commitment to the work that they do.”

Rosenstein also says PMA management has been trying to get the NLRB to exclude 29 employees from the bargaining unit and has smeared the union in all-staff meetings and online.

In a statement, the PMA says that while it doesn’t believe a union is right for the museum, it’s not trying to make voting harder for staff and it’s not misinforming employees about the union or trying to discourage them from joining.

Legal briefs are due this week. There’s no set timeline on when decisions will come from the NLRB.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.