Chicago Field Museum workers band together, fight to get jobs back amid pandemic

Field Museum employees are fighting for their laid off coworkers, calling for them to get their jobs back.

Hundreds of museum workers have lost their jobs, as the tourist spots have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The Museum of Science and Industry, the Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium, the Lincoln Park Zoo and now the Field Museum have all cut jobs.

The Shedd is one of Chicago’s top tourist destinations, but visits came to a screeching halt March 13 because of the coronavirus. The aquarium says the move has caused a financial strain, as they have cut 36 jobs and furloughed 171 employees.

Roger Tuan is one of a handful of workers hoping they can stave off layoffs at the Field Museum.

“People have started getting laid off already. We thought it wouldn’t happen until Friday,” he said.

So, a group of employees have started an online petition called “Save the Field” and say they have donated over $200,000 in vacation time to save coworkers jobs or furlough time.

“It’s about 125 people. We don’t know how many will be furloughed and laid off,” said Field Museum Employee Victoria Reese.

Just like the Shedd and Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum was forced to close in March, too. The museum acknowledges that their executive team will take a 10-percent decrease in pay.

“All staff making over $20 dollars an hour are slated to take a 10-percent pay cut,” Reese said.

“These layoffs are very concerning because a lot of our staff are living pay check to pay check,” said Field Museum employee Anna Villanyi.

The museum’s chief marketing officer, Ray DeThorne, did not address layoffs or furloughs, but did say: "We are facing an incredibly fluid, complex and frankly difficult situation with no clear and easy solution. We have been carefully weighing options on how to ensure the health and safety of our employees, create an optimal plan for reopening to the public and considering both through the lens of the long-term needs of the institution we all love."

“People affected will be front line staff, staff of color,” Tuan said.

The online petition on has over 1,600 signatures.