Meow Wolf Workers Collective files unfair labor practice charges against Meow Wolf
On Wednesday, the Meow Wolf Workers Collective (MWWC) announced on several social media platforms that they had filed unfair labor practice charges against Meow Wolf with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). According to their social media posts, “this comes after multiple attempts to resolve the issues directly with the company.”
The MWWC filed these charges, citing that Meow Wolf had changed holiday and time off policies and required new employees to sign an agreement in order to be hired without first negotiating with them. And that Meow Wolf has refused to provide critical information needed for the contract negotiation process.
This is the latest chapter in the stand off between the union and the company. Bill Rodgers, a narrative lead and union member, has been with Meow Wolf for 8 years. In an interview with KSFR, he describes the unionization process that took place among the employees.
“We started organizing this back in, I would say December of 2019. And it sort rose through the year of 2020 leading up to October when we had the vote. So, like, organizing was underway, COVID hit, and then over the course of that year, we took our organizing online and eventually brought it to a point where we announced (the union) in October and we got the company to agree to recognize us if we passed a vote with the majority of our barringing unit, which we did, I think that same month too. Since then, we’ve been working on a contract, negotiating with the company.”
15 months later, the two groups are still in the contract negotiations phase. Milagro Padilla, a union organizer with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) said the negotiations really come down to the idea of power.
“What it comes to is power right. This is very new for Meow Wolf management to have a group of employees step up and say ‘hey, look, we want a seat at the table as well.’ I think another thing that is happening is they’ve definitely retained outside help in this process on the management side, who are giving them instructions and advice and I think they are taking that. They are reluctant to give up any more power than they absolutely have to, and I think that’s pretty typical.”
In terms of filing the unfair labor practice charges, Padilla said the NLRB will conduct interviews and make a determination on if Meow Wolf violated the law.
“We want Meow Wolf to stop breaking the law, it’s simple. The law is very clear. Meow Wolf needs to sit down with the MWWC before they make any changes to working conditions, period. We've been at this for about a year now, it's not like we’ve been bargaining for a month or a week. By now, the management should, hopefully, know the law. And I think the workers of Meow Wolf are saying it clearly, they formed this union because they wanted a say in what their work life looked like and Meow Wolf management is disregarding this choice by making these changes unilaterally and frankly it’s not just illegal, it’s immoral.”