Denver Art Museum Workers United

January 11, 2024

Dear colleagues,

It is with this letter that we, the employees of the Denver Art Museum, formally announce our intention to unionize as one wall-to-wall union, with all eligible employees across all departments. 

In recent memory, our staff has navigated economic and cultural challenges, including the closure of the North Building and opening of the Martin Building, departmental downsizing, the COVID pandemic, and continually rising costs of living. Many of the effects of these challenges remain unresolved. It is clear that in order to make real progress, systemic change must occur. By forming our union, we seek to be part of the process of bringing forth the change we deserve:

  • A base living wage that accounts for experience, tenure, and continuing inflation

  • Communication, transparency, democratic oversight and leadership accountability

  • Investment in employees through advancement and professional development

  • A culture that prioritizes employee and visitor experience over revenue

  • Respect and safety of all employees, volunteers, and visitors

Such changes will improve respect, retention, development, and job satisfaction. Our union seeks to uphold the museum’s stated values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in our workplace, and to fulfill our mission to enrich the lives of present and future generations through art. This is what we have earned.

Gio Ponti, the brilliant architect of the towering Martin Building, once said, “Art is a treasure, and these thin but jealous walls defend it.” But even he was limited in his vision. The people within these walls, not just the artworks, not just the fruits of their labor, are treasures too. The museum, and all it provides, would not be possible without us, the workers. That is why we deserve dignity, respect, and fair compensation for the work we do. 

For all these reasons, we choose to collectively make our voices heard. We demand the voluntary recognition of our union, DAMWU – Denver Art Museum Workers United, under AFSCME-CWU Council 18. We proclaim our right to be a part of shaping what this institution is and what its future could be. We love and value this museum, and together, we will create a museum that values us in return as we continue to spark creativity, inspiration, and empowerment within these walls.

We hope that you will join us.


The Organizing Committee of Denver Art Museum Workers United (DAMWU)

"I support this union because I believe for museums to survive, they need to change."
"I believe the DAMWU will provide a much needed avenue for transparency and communication thoughout the museum, as well as providing the same level of stability and safety to is workers that higherups already possess."
"It's time that employees are given more of a say in their service to the communities that visit our museum and I strongly believe that a union will give us that voice!"
“Being apart of something bigger than myself feels exciting. To know that I have the power to bring change for the better towards my amazing coworkers is very inspiring. I hope we can inspire others to do the same!"
“I support our right to unionize because I believe that our institution is such an important space for community and culture, however, I don't believe that this success should come at the cost of our staff and sustainability in the future.”
"The DAMWU is in the pursuit of a workplace that values fairness and open dialogue. Together, let's build a stronger, more equitable future.”
"I want to be a part of the museum world for a long time, so part of my duty is speaking and acting to make sure that museums are the catalysts for change I know they can be.”
"I want to see change from the admin level down to improve our work environment and reduce stress levels across the board.”
"I support our union because I see the hard work and dedication my fellow coworkers put into this job, and I also see that effort not being fairly compensated by the institution."
"I support our collective voice in nurturing our mission for openness, collaboration and accountability.”
"We should be able to keep working at the DAM without worrying about financial instability and our voices not being valued.”
“I support our Union because I believe that everyone, no matter their title, should be able to make a living wage with the opportunity of growth."
"I want our union to be a meaningful part of a better Denver. I hope our institution cultivates better conditions for Denver culture and cultural workers when held accountable by our union”
"For the Denver Art Museum to truly live up to its values, it needs to invest in, listen to, and respect the people who make it all happen--the workers."
"We deserve to have our voices heard, our concerns addressed, and to collectively contribute to making the museum an even better place for everyone – both employees and visitors"
"DAM employees deserve better transparency, communication, and wages that reflect our city’s cost of living.”
“I love the sense of community that we have here at the DAM and believe that the act of unionizing will help unite all of our departments, Bannock and front line alike."
"In order for our museum to fully realize its potential and truly act as a public good, it has to operate democratically and with accountability to staff and the public. I believe our union can get us there!”
"Proximity to art doesn’t pay rent; museum prestige doesn’t buy groceries. Solidarity is the future or there is no future."

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