Six-ish years after arts corporation Meow Wolf opened its first location in Santa Fe, members of the Meow Wolf Workers Collective announced on Friday that a contract agreement between the union and management has finally been reached and will now advance to a ratification process. The news comes after roughly 16 months of negotiations, as well as a slew of notable milestones in recent years, including the union’s formation in October 2020, anti-union language in a job posting last September, a new CEO and charges of unfair labor practices in January, various lawsuits and, of course, massive layoffs at the outset of the pandemic that left 201 employees without jobs.
“It’s a good day today,” Milagro Padilla of the Communication Workers of America union, under which the Meow Wolf Workers Collective operates, tells SFR. Padilla has assisted the MWWC through formation and negotiations and will continue in that capacity at least until the contract is ratified.
“The top lines are that there are a lot of really big wins for the workers, including a $60,000 minimum for its artists,” Padilla continues, “and most will be boosted higher, which is long overdue.”
The union, meanwhile, appears to be celebrating on Twitter:
Padilla notes that the ratification process should be relatively quick; the next steps are to get all union members up to speed with the terms of the tentative contract.
“We’ll want to host a few meetings to educate people first so they know what they’re voting for,” Padilla says, “then we’ll hold that vote, because we don’t want to hold the process up too long.”
Padilla further says he believes the contract agreement and its subsequent vote will help dispel any undue concerns that union interests have been dictated by third parties. Ultimately, though, he says, things are finally looking up.
“We have an agreement that we’re really proud of,” Padilla explains. “What we’re hearing back from the union at this point is that people are happy. I’m so proud of the work these folks have put in. [Meow Wolf] really does employ some of the brightest and most creative people I’ve ever met, and I’m so proud of the work we’ve been able to do together over the last two and a half years.”
“After nearly a year of good faith negotiations, we are thrilled to have an agreement on our first contract with the MWWC/CWA bargaining unit,” reads a statement to SFR from Meow Wolf management. “Working together, we have arrived at solutions that will make our entire company stronger and better able to deliver on our mission. We look forward to getting our first contract ratified soon, and we appreciate the support the entire company has shown for this important process.”