.D. Former President Donald Trump accompanies Republican candidate for U.S. Senator from Ohio, Vance, during a campaign rally in Youngstown, Ohio, Sept. 17, 2022. Tom E. Pusker/AP
COLUMBUS, Ohio—Museums and galleries across the country are forming a union. From Philadelphia to Columbus, Ohio, workers are fighting against museum boards and for union recognition.
These committees are seated by America’s local elite, some of whom fund right-wing pro-Trump political candidates, tying the art world to reactionary financial capital.
Unionizing the Columbus Museum
In March 2022, workers at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus announced their intention to unionize as Wex Workers United under AFSCME Ohio Council 8, citing issues such as wages, transparency and health .
The State Employment Relations Board (SERB) is responsible for scheduling election dates for the union, as the union is not voluntarily endorsed by Ohio State University, which makes the museum part of its state agency. Not all parties agree on the positions included in the bargaining unit.
OSU also hired attorneys for Porter Wright Morris and Arthur, a firm that once represented Trump campaign lawsuits in Pennsylvania and assisted clients with anti-union tactics and litigation. As their website states, they also offer “manager training designed to prevent organizing” and “handling NLRB issues related to bargaining unit coverage.”
Workers at the Columbus Museum of Art (CMA) expressed their intention to unionize in August over similar grievances and received a positive response from management, but ultimately the museum’s board of directors voted voluntarily. voted against admitting them to
But last week, CMA workers voted overwhelmingly to join AFSCME, which organizes museums and workers’ unions across the country.
Columbus Trump Investor: Mark Kvami
The board of directors of the Wexner Center for the Arts includes Mark Kvamme, a Midwestern venture capitalist from Silicon Valley who founded Columbus-based Drive Capital in 2013. , but recently, several companies have struggled, such as Root Insurance and Olive. Both laid off hundreds of employees this year.
Marc, the son of venture capitalist Earl Floyd Kvamme, was a Silicon Valley pioneer who rose to the top of Apple’s ranks in the 1980s. He advised every president from Reagan to George W. Bush and became an early representative of tech capital merging with conservative politics.
Mark followed in his father’s footsteps in Silicon Valley, but has since recognized the Midwest as America’s future tech hub, so his political influence is intertwined with Ohio and local politics. .
Kvanme entered the political spotlight in 2011 when then-Governor John Kasich handpicked him to run Jobs Ohio, the successor to the Ohio Development Authority. He retired after a year. During his short tenure, ethical concerns were raised against Kvamme over a conflict of interest at China-based software company VanceInfo. Led by Kasich’s privatization scheme and close relationships with major donors Politico to characterize his actions as a revival of “cronyism”.
In 2015, Kvamme supported Kasich in the 2016 presidential election and donated $500,000 to Kasich’s campaign. Since the Republican transition to Trump, Kvanme’s political investments have shifted with the populist tide. In September, Kvamme joined others as he hosted a fundraising event for Silicon Valley native and Midwestern venture capitalist JD Vance.
Vance drew controversy from anti-Trump CNN contributors for how quickly he switched to rebranding as a MAGA Republican and all that entailed a far-right stance. Some Ohio voters embrace the rhetoric, as do Republican campaign funders like Kvamme.
On the board of directors of the Columbus Museum of Art is Jeanie Schottenstein of the Schottenstein family, the last dynasty of Columbus.
Her husband, Jay Schottenstein, has taken over his father’s position as head of Schottenstein Stores Corporation and is also chairman or CEO of American Eagle, American Signature, designer brands and DSW. made headlines by embracing Trump.
In the 2016 presidential election, Cory and Brian Schottenstein served as Ohio’s electors at the request of the Trump campaign. Corey is his partner managing his Schottenstein Real Estate Group, where Trump sold his Palm Beach home down the street from the Mar-a-Lago Club for $49 million.
Members of the Mar-a-Lago Club, the Schottenstein family have vacationed in Palm Beach for years and know Trump personally. SRE president Brian married his girlfriend Toria Aronoff, the granddaughter of former Ohio Senate Speaker Stan Aronoff, in Mar-a-Lago in December.
David Schottenstein, founder of eyewear company Prive Leveau and suit company Astor & Black, joined the board of directors of Aleph Institute. According to their website, the Aleph Institute “supports the welfare of U.S. military personnel, prisoners, and those who are institutionalized or at risk of imprisonment because of mental illness or addiction. , a non-profit Jewish organization dedicated to caring for”
In 2020, they made headlines when Philip Esforms was sentenced to 20 years in prison for $1 billion in Medicare fraud, and President Trump commuted the sentence. Esformes’ family has donated his $65,000 to his Aleph Institute, where volunteers claim they “played a key role” in the amnesty effort. In January, David Schottenstein pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and prosecutors said he could be released under supervision for a year and forfeiture of $634,893 he earned from the transaction. It says high.
Jay, Gary, Terri Schottenstein, and Mark Kvamme, along with other Columbus billionaires, including the owner of the Columbus Crew, were to vote on whether the Columbus Museum of Art’s board of directors would voluntarily vote. In the evening, I hosted a fundraiser for JD Vance. accept unions. The vote was delayed and later shot down.
Museum boards may generally be more politically centered or even liberal, but in recent years there have nevertheless been fragments, often small ones, of a splintered financial capitalist. Supporters of the core tenets of the ideological American political duopoly, they then violently overturned elections and stripped them of basic human rights such as abortion rights, voting rights, and workers’ rights. has shifted in favor of Trump’s political program to