Photo of the Teamster Local 814 art handlers who were locked out of Sotheby’s during their protest on August 28. (photo by Liza Eliano for Hyperallergic)

Today is May Day, the international day of workers, and here at Hyperallergic we’re proud to lend our support to Paddy Johnson of AFC, who is spearheading a petition to show one of the world’s largest auction houses, Sotheby’s, that those of us who love the art world are shocked by their treatment of union art handlers.

A view of one of the October protests by the Sotheby’s art handlers (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)

Since early August, the members of the art handlers union (Teamsters Local 814) have been locked out of the Sotheby’s auction house after they did not agree upon a final contract. You can read our extensive coverage of the evolving situation here.

Please sign the petition and tell Sotheby’s that you are not in agreement with their total disregard for solid working class jobs that provide benefits and respect workers. As the petition points out:

” … [Sotheby’s remains] the largest and most successful business in the art world, and they know it: in 2010, CEO William Ruprecht more than doubled his own salary, to $6 million. The entire [art handler’s] union contract totals $3.2 million.”

There are many ways to show your support beyond signing the petition.

  • If you are an artist whose work is available on the secondary market, then make it known that you don’t support their sale of your work.
  • If you’re a collector, choose other auction houses until this lock out is resolved.
  • If you’re a member of a nonprofit or other institution, then refuse sponsorship from Sotheby’s.
  • If you’re a member of the media or a social media maven, then help spread the word and share this post to your networks.

We need everyone’s help!

Please sign the petition and help us disseminate this post.

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.