The union is calling on every member to send a strong message to the AGO: when workers stand shoulder to shoulder, another future is possible. Join us in front of gallery doors this coming Wednesday evening to demand a better deal and a better AGO!

  • What: Day of Action – Rally with AGO Cultural Workers
  • When: Wednesday, March 13th from 5:00pm to 7:00pm
  • Where: Outside the Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas St West, Toronto

Queries can be directed to

With no real wage offer on the table and disparaging refusal or lack of response on any equity-related issues we’ve tabled over ten months of bargaining, the union has filed a no-board report – meaning, more than 400 workers at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) may be on strike as of 12:01 a.m. on Monday, March 25th.

It’s worth recapping what’s led us to this point:

What are we asking for?The AGO’s response?
Wages that help workers keep up with cost of living in the most expensive city in Canada.No response.
2% retroactive pay wage re-opener for 2021-2022, negotiated and agreed to in a previous roundNo response.
Minimum 4 hour shift length, consistent with the UNIFOR security group agreement at the AGONo.
Protections against contracting out.No
Protections against reductions in hours for part-time workers.No.
A gender-affirming care fundNo. The employer proposed a $2000 donation to be shared across 400 members instead.
Enhanced benefits, including access to a Health and Wellness fund for regular part-time staff.No.

Over the years, workers have been told by AGO CEO Stephan Jost that we are replaceable and that we have no future here. Some of us have put 10, 20, even 30 years into the gallery – the AGO isn’t giving anything back by making it increasingly harder to earn a decent living as a gallery employee. Meanwhile, the AGO’S leadership makes five to ten times our membership, with most salaries north of $200,000. Admission to the AGO shouldn’t come at the cost of worker precarity when top executives make as much $406k a year!

The AGO prides itself as a world-class arts institution tasked with public delivery of the arts and is working on a $100 million building addition, which will cement is as one of the largest galleries on North America. Prestige and expansion can’t come at the price of peoples’ livelihood. The gallery is increasingly drawing on precarious, part-time work and contracting out, which is creating a growing underclass of struggling workers. Every year, workers are falling further and further behind the rising cost of living.

Gallery workers want a future here and a contract that makes it possible. The undervaluing and contracting out of labour from long-term, loyal staff is an attack on workers. We ensure there is art and programming for public access, and funding to support both. We literally keep the gallery lights on and its doors open. If workers walk, management won’t be able to hide behind the art.