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Academy Foundation Union Ratifies First Contract

Academy Foundation Union Ratifies First Contract

Nearly a year and a half after their union was voluntarily recognized, workers at the Academy Foundation — a nonprofit dedicated to protecting film history — have ratified their first labor contract.

In results that were tallied on May 22, 86 workers voted “yes” to passing the new three-year agreement, while none voted against the deal. Archivists, film preservationists, librarians, curators and others who work at the 501(c)(3) arm of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences are included in the union, which is called the Academy Foundation Workers United.

The new contract will cumulatively raise wages for workers between 11 to 27 percent by the end of the contract, with a minimum of 3 percent wage increases annually. The deal establishes four additional weeks of paid parental leave and gives workers the ability to go on extended medical leave. The contract also includes “protections against subcontracting” and “language to create more professional development opportunities,” according to a joint statement from the union and the employer.

“Our first contract signals to our bargaining unit and management that a new era at the Academy Foundation has arrived – an era of a more fair and equitable partnership with management and workers,” film archivist and AFWU bargaining team member Jessi Jones said in a statement. “As we move forward, the bargaining unit will benefit from wage increases, health care and benefits stability and a system of checks and balances. I’m proud to be a member of AFWU, and proud of our accomplishments.”

The AFWU is affiliated with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 126, which also represents workers at the Academy Museum in collective bargaining. Both the Academy Foundation and the Academy Museum launched their organizing drives in 2022, citing their interest in having a greater say in the workplace. (Academy Foundation workers particularly stated at the time that they also wished to improve wages, working conditions, benefits, transparency, sustainability and diversity, equity and inclusion at the office.) The Academy Museum union ratified its first contract in September 2023.

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“On behalf of Academy leadership, I am delighted that the contract that we negotiated with the Academy Foundation union was approved by its members, many of whom are long-serving employees,” said Academy COO and Academy Foundation general Counsel Brendan Connell, Jr. in a statement. “With this contract, joining the contracts that the Academy successfully reached in recent months with the Academy Museum union and IATSE, we are proud of the great work that happened at the bargaining table and the focus on our remarkable employees.”

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