Posted inNews

Reporting from the Front Lines at Wednesday’s Sotheby’s Protest

At the huge protest by the Local 814 art handlers in front of Sotheby’s this Wednesday, the divide between the 1% and the 99% in the art world could not have been clearer. While protesters chanted, whistled and booed from the heavily barricaded picket lines, wealthy auction attendees were rushed into the building by security. Wednesday marked the second of two major contemporary art sales at the auction house that included million dollar masterpieces by Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, de Kooning and Gerhard Richter to name a few. This high profile sale was the most opportune time for the art handlers to make their voices heard and let Sotheby’s know that will not accept no for an answer on a better contract agreement.

Before heading to Sotheby’s I met with members of Occupy Museums at Zuccotti Park who have taken on the struggle of the locked-out art handlers and have joined them in protests against Sotheby’s. After searching through the maze of tents that have recently sprung up in the park, I finally found Blithe Riley holding a mini General Assembly to get participants ready for the evening’s action: Occupy Sotheby’s. Riley, who is a member of Occupy Museums and the OWS Labor Outreach Committee, told the small crowd, “Occupy Wall Street stands with organized labor.”

Posted inNews

Sign the Petition Against the Sotheby’s Lock Out!

News may be slowing down about the Sotheby’s lock out, but the labor dispute between art handlers of Teamsters Local 814 and the auction giant is dragging into its third month now. Luckily supporters both on and off-line (Occupy Wall Street lent their voice last week) are not shutting up about this issue just yet. Hyperallergic received a tip over Twitter today that a new site title Fair Labor in the Arts has hit the web in support of the 40 union handlers who are still without work.

Posted inNews

New Energy Among Art Handlers As They Continue to Fight Sotheby’s Lock Out

Hurricane Irene may be fast approaching, but there was another type of storm in full force yesterday in front of the Sotheby’s auction house on 72nd and York Avenue in Manhattan. Art handlers of the Teamsters Local 814 union, who were locked out of their jobs at Sotheby’s earlier this month,doubled their efforts to make their anger heard. Hundreds of workers and supporters took over the usually staid streets of the Upper East Side in front of the Sotheby’s offices, shouting for union rights.