How are artists who have been systematically denied fair wages and access to basic services like healthcare and unemployment protections gaining access to those things today?
A widespread worker strike across the UK has delayed openings and shut down galleries at dozens of major museums across the country. The series of three daylong strikes happening yesterday, today, and Sunday are part of a larger action coordinated by the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) against cuts to pay, pensions, and job conditions.
Visiting Frieze New York on Randall’s Island is like being sucked into a black hole. You get on a ferry (or a bus, or a bike), enter a giant, spacious tent, and then time stops. Or it disappears. Or it slips away. Next thing you know, you stumble out dehydrated and drunk off your speakeasy cocktail and notice the sun starting to sink in the sky.
For more than six months, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco have been in the news nonstop. Robert Flynn Johnson, the museums’ curator emeritus, summed it up pretty well when he called the museums’ situation “a state of Orwellian dysfunction.” And that’s just the news that’s been reported.
New York City councilmembers and labor leaders, united under the auspices of Teamsters Joint Council 16, gave a press conference on the steps of City Hall yesterday, again blasting the use of non-union labor for Frieze Art Fair on Randall’s Island.
Roughly 50 maintenance workers and cleaners at the British Museum staged a brief strike this past Monday, the AFP reports, protesting the museum’s plans to privatize maintenance work starting next April. The workers are represented by the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union and Unite, and both groups have expressed concern that their members’ pay and conditions will be affected by the plan to contract the work out to a single private company.
After a year of tense negotiations, a breakdown in negotiations, protests and actions and then more negotiations, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021 have settled their dispute! It’s a happy day for art news.
Sotheby’s and its art handlers may have resolved their 10-month contract dispute earlier this year, but the labor fight is alive and well in the art world, and its current locus is San Francisco.
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.
Teamsters Local 814, which represents the 42 workers of the Sotheby’s art handlers’ union, has settled their 10-month dispute with the Sotheby’s auction house.
Last week, Sotheby’s art handlers took their fight to London but today they’re back in New York and manning the picket lines on York Avenue.
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.