Tell Mia’s Director and Board of Trustees to step up and support their workers!
Tell Mia’s Director and Board of Trustees to step up and support their workers!
We’re asking leadership at the Minneapolis Institute of Art to commit to no layoffs, no furloughs, and no hour reductions for staff, and to address the projected budget deficit through a collaborative, transparent, and equitable process.
Our requests (more detail below):
- Transparent sharing of current museum finances.
- Further reduction in Leadership Team pay, as well as a progressive scale of cuts across the institution.
- Address and transform white supremacy culture at the museum.
- Board of Trustees to step in and resource Mia’s greatest asset, the staff.
We ask that you please sign to show support for Mia’s workers, and to encourage museum leadership to act in the best interests of our community.
Dear Twin Cities Community,
As both workers at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and members of the Twin Cities community, we have serious concerns about decisions being made by Mia’s leadership. You may not know this, but Mia is funded by a century-old Hennepin County property tax that finances nearly half of its operations. As such, Mia is a public institution, funded by you, the community, and needs to make decisions that are in the best interest of the community. We believe that as a public institution, Mia needs to do its part to not contribute to the inequity that is the reality of our society at large.
Mia workers contribute to the vibrancy and prosperity of the communities where they live; eliminating these positions in the wake of COVID-19, the protests, and the housing crisis further impoverishes our diverse communities at a crucial moment, while the board allows leadership to draw vastly disproportionate wealth. Mia can and should step up to support its workers.
On Friday, June 12, staff were notified that Mia will undergo a 15.6% staff reduction, comprised of layoffs and voluntary separations, to solve a budget deficit for the upcoming year. This comes after countless conversations between Mia staff and leadership about equitable ways to shoulder a budget shortfall after the closure of the museum due to COVID-19. Staff were specifically asked to give input about reducing the shortfall. With the announcement of upcoming layoffs, it’s become clear that recommendations to avoid layoffs put forth by OPEIU Local 12, SEIU Local 26, Mia’s Equity Team, and Mia’s staff at large have been ignored.
The people making decisions about layoffs include the museum director and heads of divisions, also known as Leadership Team. Based on averages from Mia's publically available Form 990 for Fiscal Years ended June 30, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018, the average annual reportable compensation from the organization (W-2/1099-MISC) for the following positions is as follows:
- $730,063 Director & President*
- $506,824 Assistant Treasurer
- $265,252 Deputy Director & Chief Curator
- $222,844 Chief Digital Officer
- $265,252 Director of Advancement
- $188,691 Head of Audience Engagement
- $165,540 Director of Learning Innovation
Considering these exorbitant salaries, and the wealth that Leadership Team has amassed throughout the years, it’s hard to call the proposed layoffs to staff as anything other than inherently regressive. These proposed layoffs will disproportionately impact those already paid the least and in the most precarious financial situations. We also have serious concerns about the impact layoffs will have on Mia’s already meager staff diversity, considering most BIPOC staff at Mia are in non-managerial and grant-funded roles.
We ask that Mia’s leadership commits to an equitable solution to its deficit, one that will not lose the Museum’s most valuable resource: its staff.
1. Transparent sharing of current museum finances. Leadership Team must be transparent by sharing current and detailed finances, the criteria used to determine cuts, and expected cost savings. To date, staff have only been given partial and outdated information. They were asked for input, then refused the necessary information needed to make informed recommendations.
2. Further reduction in Leadership Team pay, as well as a progressive scale of cuts across the institution. Leadership Team must take significant pay cuts to share the burden of the current financial situation. Staff unions as well as groups like Equity Team have already asked for a progressive sharing of the financial burden.
- Staff earning $65K and below - no reductions
- Staff earning $66-99K receive a 10% reduction in pay
- Staff earning $100-149K receive a 15% reduction in pay
- Staff earning $150K+ receive a 20-30% reduction in pay
- We also ask that Leadership Team model equity by taking a 40-50% reduction in pay.
What we’re asking follows the precedent put forth by our peers in leadership at the Boston Museum of Science, the Museum of Science and Industry, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, who even amidst layoffs have committed to a model of graduated pay cuts that reduce executive pay up to 60%. Some Mia staff are currently making under $19/hour and living paycheck to paycheck. The average wage for a full-time union employee at Mia is $58,000. The average wage for a part-time union employee (ranges from 15-30 hours/week) is $30,500. Continuing to make $200,000+ while putting people in a situation where they are no longer able to make rent and feed their families is unconscionable. The Director’s average salary alone is enough to pay 20 individuals at $19/hr for a year. It could pay for 12 full-time union jobs, or 24 part-time union jobs. Currently, Leadership Team has agreed to a 15% pay cut. This is flagrantly inadequate. A more equitable scale of cuts should be put in place.
3. Address and transform white supremacy culture at the museum. We have a moral obligation to end institutional racist practices, policies, and workplace culture at Mia. As already discussed, we fear that layoffs would disproportionately affect Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) staff, but it must also be said that it’s not enough to simply retain BIPOC staff and continue with “business as usual.” Mia’s staff of color are not okay. As an art museum and public institution, Mia has a duty to serve its diverse public, which we know cannot authentically be done without a diverse staff. However, Mia cannot even begin to do this work under conditions where BIPOC staff are dispensable, undervalued and underpaid. BIPOC staff have provided a detailed road map to address the work that needs to be done. We are asking for a commitment from leadership that these points of action will be centered, and leadership will commit to address these requests in a collaborative manner with Equity team, BIPOC staff, and community partners. We can only begin to address these systemic problems together.
4. Board of Trustees to step in and resource Mia’s greatest asset, the staff.
To Mia’s Board of Trustees: You made your intentions clear to undergo a multi-million dollar capital fundraising campaign in fulfillment of the Master Plan, which has since been put on pause. You expressed confidence in the financial capacity of the trustees to lead our community through this campaign, and now we call on each of you to make that same investment towards the urgent need of retaining Mia’s staff. We’ve seen your ability to hold Mia as your biggest philanthropic commitment in the “good times”, and we look to each of you individually in this hard time to play your part in caring for the staff of this institution you hold power over. For those of us who work paycheck to paycheck, being laid off means 100% reduction in our wealth. This is our livelihood, our ability to pay rent, our ability to feed our kids. Surely, the reason you are on the board is because you love Mia. What is Mia without the people?
Mia’s Director, Katie Luber, has told us time and time again that “we’re all in this together.” This can and should be true, but only if Mia’s leadership is willing to share the burden and commit to an equitable transformation of Mia’s immediate and future needs. We ask that you please sign to show support for Mia’s workers, and to encourage museum leadership to act in the best interests of our community.
Concerned Mia Employees
We have the right to come together and petition our employer for better working conditions. It is illegal for the Minneapolis Institute of Art or any employer to retaliate against anyone for signing a petition or distributing it on non-work time. For more information, see your labor rights.
We will deliver this petition once it reaches a critical mass of signatures.
*990 compensation figures for the Nivin and Duncan MacMillan Director and President are reflective of Mia's previous Director, Kaywin Feldman. Current Director, Katie Luber started in January 2020 at a salary of $500,000 as reported by the Star Tribune (Oct 2019). However, Kaywin Feldman's salary was reported as $475,000 by Star Tribune (Dec 2014), yet she still averaged $730K in annual reportable compensation. As such, we feel this number is a fair representation of the wealth Mia has given to the people holding the director position.