Staff at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul have become the latest in a growing movement to unionize.

Employees voted 79-50 to join the AFSCME Council 5 earlier this month. More than 200 workers at the Science Museum will join the union.

"In spite of a significant anti-union pressure campaign by Science Museum of Minnesota management, these workers spoke decisively that they seek a voice in the workplace, fair pay for a day's work, dignified paid leave policies, and more," said Julie Bleyhl, AFSCME executive director, in a statement.

Employees filed an election petition with the National Labor Relations Board in November.

"The weeks leading up to the election involved a lot of reflection and important conversations with employees," according to a statement by Science Museum management. "We look forward to continuing those conversations and moving forward together as an organization that values collaboration, equity and learning."

During the pandemic, the Science Museum lost about $15 million when it was temporarily closed. Nearly 160 workers, or 40% of its employees, were laid off in 2020.

Minnesota nonprofits have lost about 30,000 workers during the pandemic. Many are facing staffing issues.

The museum's union push follows a successful union election at the Minnesota Historical Society, which joined AFSCME in 2021. The historical society manages 26 museums and historical sites.

Union membership in Minnesota spiked last year as did a focus on worker rights during the pandemic.