de Young, Legion of Honor Announce Layoffs and Furloughs for 47 Staff

The Legion of Honor in San Francisco. (Fine Arts Museums of SF)

The Fine Art Museums of San Francisco, which includes the de Young and Legion of Honor, announced today that 14 staff members will be laid off and 33 staff members furloughed, starting July 1.

In the announcement released Tuesday, FAMSF stated that the organization faces a projected $20 million revenue loss, despite taking “aggressive measures to raise funds and reduce expenses.” Both of its museums have been closed since March 14; reopening is tentatively scheduled for mid-August.

To further reduce expenses, Director and CEO Thomas P. Campbell will take a 10% pay cut through the 2021 fiscal year, and the museums’ executive leadership are taking pay cuts on a sliding scale of up to 5% for the duration of the furlough period.

The de Young and Legion of Honor are just the latest Bay Area institutions to announce layoffs, furloughs or reduced hours due to revenue loss during the coronavirus pandemic. That list now includes SFMOMA, the Museum of the African Diaspora, the Exploratorium and the Oakland Museum of California.

Though the FAMSF received a $4.1 million Paycheck Protection Program grant through the CARES Act, and has raised just over $5 million so far through the FAMSF Recovery Fund, cuts to programming and non-payroll operating costs still left a $2.5 million gap in the current fiscal year, which closes at the end of June.

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Laid-off staff members come from 13 departments within the museums and include both union and non-union employees. They will receive severance pay of up to 6 months salary and 90 days of health care benefits. The furloughed staff (also both union and non-union) hold positions that are reliant on interacting with the public. Their health care will continue until they are able to resume their positions.

The announcement warns that an expected loss of $11 million in revenue in the next fiscal year could be exacerbated if the museum closure is extended to a later date.