Days before Plimoth Plantation’s marquee Thanksgiving Day celebrations, its newly unionized workers plan to stage a two-day picket over stalled negotiations.
The Plymouth “living history” museum’s historical interpreters, craft center artisans, and maintenance workers say they are frustrated that after nearly a year at the negotiating table, they still don’t have a “fair contract.”
The workers narrowly voted to unionize a year ago, demanding that management address concerns about job insecurity, low wages, “dangerously low” staffing levels, and health and safety issues.
“There are no more excuses for a lack of cooperation on the part of the management and Board of Trustees at Plimoth Plantation,” the Society of Allied Museum Professionals’ negotiating team said in a statement. “Their feigned concern with the visitor experience belies the very harsh reality that they see staff as expendable, replaceable, and unimportant in delivering powerful personal encounters with history.”
Workers plan to hold an “informational picket” from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Plimoth Plantation entrance road.
Plantation spokeswoman Kate Sheehan said “museum management is bargaining in good faith and working hard to reach agreement — as we have done since negotiations began.”
Sheehan added that the museum is focused on “delighting our guests . . . during this very special time of year here at Plimoth Plantation.”
The Plantation’s popular America’s Thanksgiving Dinner events, which draw visitors from all over the world, are sold out.
Union officials said that as the town prepares to celebrate the holiday that made Plymouth famous — tens of thousands of spectators are expected Saturday for the annual Thanksgiving parade — many of the Plantation’s workers “are preparing for a winter of unemployment,” according to the union.
Without a contract in place, workers say, they worry about whether they will be rehired when the museum reopens in the spring when the tourism season starts again.Katheleen Conti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKConti.