We often discuss the arts in regard to the impact on our community, well-being, education system and economy. Recently, discussion of the role and rights of art workers has become a more prominent aspect of the conversation. The great paradox of art being priceless is that it can come at a great cost to artists and the laborers employed by arts institutions. In the face of an organization’s financial distress, who can ensure that artists and laborers are guaranteed consistent work and pay, appropriate working conditions, and a pension plan that won’t be threatened? Who speaks up to ensure an equitable relationship between artists and management?
EALS brings together different thought-leaders from various disciplines whose primary work focuses on these issues. This panel explores labor unions in the arts from the perspectives of a formal union for theater musicians, informal labor unions like Museum Workers Speak, and labor unions from the perspective of the arts organization.