In this Nov. 10, 2014, file photo, pedestrians walk by the Robert Indiana sculpture "Seven" outside the Portland museum of Art. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

The Portland Museum of Art has reached an agreement with its newly formed union guaranteeing higher wages and benefits.

Maida Rosenstein, the president of UAW Local 2110, said negotiations went smoothly, and the new three-year contract guarantees workers six weeks of paid parental leave, as well as a higher starting wages beginning at $38,000 per year.

“People are either brought up to the minimum, or receive a 3 percent increase – whichever is greater,” she said.

The new union was formed in April, as organizing efforts were launched at several other museums over the past year. Rosenstein said the pandemic has reinforced the need for increased pay and job security in the industry.

“Unionization hopefully will stabilize employment, will raise wages, will force museums and their corporate boards to recognize and account for the contribution of their own staff,” she said.

In a joint release, the museum and union said they worked together to “ensure the best outcome” for staff members and the organization.

Museum director Mark Bessire said that the institution is pleased with the contract and “deeply” values the staff and their contributions.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.