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Occupy Wall Street and Sotheby’s art handlers have joined forces under the banner of fighting for worker’s rights and protesting corporate greed. Yesterday, members of Occupy Wall Street, an ongoing camp-out/protest in New York’s financial district, disrupted a Sotheby’s art auction to show their solidarity with the union art handlers of Teamsters Local 814 who have been locked out of their jobs since early August.

Occupy Wall Streeters stood up one by one in the middle of the auction (see video below) and announced statements condemning Sotheby’s attempts to de-unionize their art handlers.

In a statement provided to Hyperallergic via email, Sotheby’s spokesperson Diana Phillips noted that “Sotheby’s reacted swiftly and each individual was promptly escorted out of the salesroom, with the auction continuing without incident.” She also mentioned that the auction, a mid-season Contemporary sale, was the “best such sale in three years.” Occupy Wall Street members at the auction did not hesitate to call out Sotheby’s for shafting their workers despite the record profits the company has been enjoying this year.

Occupy Wall Street released this statement in support of the Teamsters’ efforts to negotiate a new contract with Sotheby’s (via truth-out.org):

Occupy Wall Street supporters are appalled at the persistent attack on workers rights. We support the right of the workers to collectively bargain. Sotheby’s wants all new hires to have no collective bargaining rights, no health benefits and no job security. After locking out their unionized work force, Sotheby’s continues to operate using scabs and a non-union subcontractor. Sotheby’s art auctions epitomize the disconnect of the extremely wealthy from the rest of us.

We have reached out to the art handlers and Teamsters for comment and will post them when they become available.

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Liza Eliano

Liza Eliano is Hyperallergic’s editorial assistant by day, and bad TV fanatic by night. She recently graduated from Barnard College with a BA in art history and a newfound love for girl power. She was...

3 replies on “#OccupyWallStreet Invades Sotheby’s Auction in Solidarity with Locked-Out Art Handlers”

  1. sothebys is a super market for the rich,come support these art handlers,and lets
    take back america one fight at a time,sothebys sale shedule is tuesdat sept 27,@2pm:disqus 
    wed,@ 10 am,  thurs@ 2pm  friday@ 10am, lets stand up to corporate greed,call 1212 606 700 for more info

  2. Thanks for the coverage. But it’s not a “camp-out/protest.” The one is for pure fun, the other is temporary, also (as we saw with Iraq and much else). It is a PEACEFUL “occupation.”

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