President Lincoln’s Cottage Workers Become the First Washington D.C. Museum to Be Represented by the UAW


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The employees at President Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington D.C. have voted to join the UAW. They are the first Washington D.C. museum staff to join the UAW.

President Lincoln’s Cottage is a historic site and museum in Washington, D.C., where Abraham Lincoln lived for more than a quarter of his presidency and developed the Emancipation Proclamation. Opened to the public in 2008, it brings President Lincoln’s nation-changing story to life through innovative guided tours, engaging exhibits, and interactive programs. Lincoln’s experiences at the Cottage provided him and those he influenced with new and diverse perspectives on issues of freedom, justice, and humility, and he made some of his most critical decisions there. President Lincoln’s Cottage operates today as a home for brave ideas and works to preserve this place to connect people to the true spirit of the Lincolns, build empathy, and inspire them to act upon their own ideas for social justice.

“I’m thrilled about our unanimous election results because I think collective bargaining will help us live up to the principles we share with the public every day,” states organizing committee member, Joan Cummins.  “Our museum is a historical site of labor justice and we’re ready to walk the walk!”

As the Program Coordinator at President Lincoln’s Cottage, Joan works on nearly every public-facing program of the museum, especially those intended for students and teachers. She developed and implemented revised school programming both onsite and virtually, and works closely with the Students Opposing Slavery Summit, which provides young people the tools they need to get involved in the fight against human trafficking. She also produces, edits, and co-hosts the Cottage’s podcast Q & Abe.

Member John Nembhard adds: “I’m the Senior Store Associate. I’m in charge of running the museum gift shop. It feels like when Obama won the election. All I can think now is “Yes We Can”. The feeling of having a voice means so much to me.”

Museum Program Associate Josie Barcley states: “I provide historical interpretation of the cottage’s stories, themes, and exhibits and lead education programs to students, teachers, and other members of the public. I am extremely pleased with the results and am looking forward to making the future of the cottage brighter.”

“We are very proud to celebrate a victory for our new UAW members at President Lincoln’s Cottage and a victory for organized labor,” states Region 8 Director Tim Smith. “History was made today; President Lincoln’s Cottage is the first UAW represented museum in Washington D.C. Assistant Director George Palmer and I are looking forward to meeting our new members to congratulate them on this historic win.”

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