MPIA Lawsuit

1/17/23 Update: We won our lawsuit!

Judge John Nugent of the Baltimore City Circuit Court issued a ruling finding the Walters Art Museum an instrumentality of the government for the purposes of the Maryland Public Information Act. This is a victory in transparency and accountability at the Walters.

What’s next?
We want to thank Delegate Robbyn Lewis (District 46) and Senator Jill Carter (District 41) for sponsoring legislation that would grant Walters employees collective bargaining rights and allow us to move forward with the recognition of our union!
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Background:
In May 2022, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), on behalf of Walters Workers United, filed a Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA) request seeking documents from The Walters Art Museum regarding internal correspondence about our unionization efforts. 

In response, Walters’ leadership refused to comply with the request based on an unfounded claim that it is a private institution and therefore not subject to the MPIA. 

On September 12, 2022, together with AFSCME, we filed a lawsuit against The Walters Art Museum for refusing to comply with the MPIA request. 

“Our decision to file is based in the spirit of transparency and clarity,” said Garrett Stralnic, a security officer at The Walters. “As with the MPIA request, Walters’ management is using their claim of being a private entity to avoid being accountable to workers and blocking us from an inclusive union election.” 

“Transparency and accountability are essential to the healthy functioning of any public institution and are the cornerstones of civil society in the United States. I am honored to serve the city and people of Baltimore by caring for the municipal collections of the Walters Art Museum,” said Gregory Bailey, a senior objects conservator at The Walters. “The Public information act safeguards public trust in the proper functioning and good governance of our institution.

WWU Press Releases:

January 17, 2023: Judge Nugent Decides in Favor of Walters Workers United in Maryland Public Information Act Lawsuit

December 30, 2022: Judge hears Walters Workers United lawsuit over Walters Art Museum refusal to comply with public information request

September 12, 2022: Workers’ union files lawsuit against the Walters Art Museum for refusing to comply with Maryland Public Information Act