Pink Slip Exhibits

When the cash-flush MFAH vows no layoffs, don't believe it

"It was just so blunt," says the former staffer, who asked that his name be withheld. On a Wednesday afternoon, he returned from lunch and was handed his last paycheck 90 minutes before the end of the day. Although he was expected to leave that afternoon, he was eventually given permission to return the next day to pick up more than a decade's worth of materials he had collected in his office.

"I understand people do this in corporations," he says, "but in a museum, in a nonprofit, after these many years, you expect a little courtesy."

The ex-employee described the mood of the museum as "a pressure cooker" ever since the Beck building opened, with an already underpaid staff being forced to work double time to keep up. The unexpected layoffs have shaken those who left as well as those who remain behind.

"There are a lot of angry people there now who don't want to be there," he says. "We were simply lied to. Peter and Gwen both knew it before the meeting, and he said it anyway."

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