Letter to colleagues

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)