The following is the full text of the press release by the Teamsters union regarding the settlement between Sotheby’s auction house and the 42 union art handlers. We are still gathering more details about the settlement and will post more as they become available.
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LOCKED OUT TEAMSTERS GOING BACK TO WORK – HISTORIC LOCKOUT ENDS
Sotheby’s and Teamsters Reach Deal to put 42 Art Handlers Back on the [Job]
NEW YORK, NY — Teamster Local 814 today announced the successful end of its fight for a fair contract for 42 art handers who were locked out by Sotheby’s auction house for ten months. The workers voted overwhelmingly this morning to approve a new successor collective bargaining agreement that includes pay raises and maintains health and retirement benefits.
“These hardworking men and women will go home today and tell their families that they got their job back, and that’s what the Teamsters call a victory,” said George Miranda, President of Teamsters Joint Council 16, representing more than 120,000 Teamsters in New York tri-state area and Puerto Rico. “This was a tough fight, and I am extremely proud of these workers, and of the leadership team at Local 814. We stuck together and we won together. Now, we begin the job of rebuilding the relationship with Sotheby’s, which had always been a good place to work. Our workers are excited to get back on the ob, and we trust that Sotheby’s is just as excited to welcome them back.”
Jason Ide, President of Teamsters Local 814, said, “I am proud of this settlement, which means pay raises and solid benefits for these 42 workers. But the hallmark of this settlement is that together we persevered in security their right to workplace justice. This lockout was a misguided attempt by the 1 percent to crush the hopes and lives of middle class workers — that was never going to happen on our watch. I want to thank all those who supported us in this effort from the Joint Countil to Occupy Wall Street. This was a collective victory for the 99 percent.”
The contract benefits both the workers and Sotheby’s, providing work rule changes and operational flexibility that Sotheby’s had sought while respecting seniority in work assignments and maintaining work week guarantees.
“As in all tough negotiations, there comes a point where the parties hit a breakthrough. That moment came a few weeks ago when Sotheby’s brought in a new legal team that knew what it would take to end this excusable lock out,” said Mark Richard the lead union attorney for these negotiations. “It was about time that we sat across the table with negotiators who looked toward resolution, rather than destruction of working families.”
“Congratulations to everyone who worked to achieve the agreement between Sotheby’s and Local 814 that will allow these working employees to return to work after ten long months,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “I am proud that the Council was able to play a helpful role in fostering positive conversations between labor and management. Today’s agreement is a signal to workers across the nation to keep up the fight for fairness and to never give up on good faith negotiations.”
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