More than two years after the Museum of Contemporary Art of Oaxaca (MACO) closed due to non-payment of wages to workers at the said site established by Francisco Toledo, the museum has become a private venue and witnesses proposed by Asociación Amigos del MACO did not appear to testify against the staff at hearings.
So said Oscar Aragon, one of the affected workers. “We have insisted on the labor lawsuit, so far there is little left in terms of legal process so that we can get an opinion on the award so that it can be determined when we have to pay.”
This lawsuit was filed by 11 workers in March 2021, and museum authorities have only recognized four of them for work seniority of more than four years.
“In response to the lawsuit, the association argued in two details of the non-acceptance of debt repayment: that they did not recognize the entire workforce and declared that part of the workers they admitted, four, had orally resigned,” Aragon tells.
During 2022, tests have been conducted and it has been verified that all workers must be identified.
“As for the alleged resignation, they have given witnesses and no longer wish to testify, abstained from voting, and all that remains is for a witness they have to testify, from the other three who did not testify,” he says.
According to those affected, the debt is about one and a half million pesos.
“They stopped paying us in April 2020, in December of 2020, we made the museum’s status public and from that, many groups and artists joined in wanting to support the workers. So in February, an artist donated an amount of money so we could pay, it was a huge amount But when it was distributed to some it was not covering a month’s salary,” says Aragon.
Only at that time there was a payment of workers with the guarantee of a notary.
“After that we did not receive any more payment. At some point they wanted to conduct negotiations, for example, they owed me a year and wanted to give me 10 thousand pesos for a whole year of work, this was not a proposal to consider ”, he agrees.
Since 2020 the museum is closed?
At one point, the MACO Friends Association put up a banner that they were going to open, they said at the end of 2021, but in the end they removed their banner.
We know the museum was operating in the form of private visits, but it is not for the general public but for very selective people, they do not allow any visitor interested in knowing the museum to enter, you have to meet the link or have a direct connection to enter.
Aragon adds that this restricted opening is unfair. “They’re using the museum’s collection that was born from donations, there’s work from the Tamayo Biennale and the Payment in Kind Program, and they’re using all of this as a private collection to give tours.”
Did Seculta support you in something?
The Secretariat for Cultures and Arts of Oaxaca (Seculta) distanced itself and said that the association had already returned an unverified amount of money, it seemed strange to us because we could have given this money instead of Seculta, it does not mean that this money has not been verified But they accept what it wasn’t used for: on the payroll.