Thursday, May 9, 2013

Teamsters take a stand at Randall’s Island

Despite the rain, today’s rally in New York City was a success.  

More than 80 union members showed up at Randall’s Island to protest the Frieze New York Art Show’s discrimination against union workers.  

Members of the following unions showed up to take a stand for working families: Teamsters Locals 817, 807, 210, 917, 553, 814 and 202; District Council of Carpenters; Painters DC 9; Operating Engineers Local 30; and IATSE Locals 1 and 829. Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito, chair of the NYC Parks Committee (pictured) has been one of the most prominent voices on this issue. 

Unions weren’t the only ones to call out the sponsors of the big-money event. At least one artist whose work is being exhibited at the art show got involved. Art in America magazine has the story:

In the midst of setting up her booth at the Frieze Art Fair, Los Angeles dealer Susanne Vielmetter was presented with a last-minute problem. One of the artists she's showing, Andrea Bowers, disagreed with the fair's decision to hire non-union workers (an issue that plagued the fair last year as well). Two days before Frieze's preview, which is this Thursday, May 9, Bowers had decided to display a pamphlet and a written statement calling out Frieze's anti-union labor practices.

 Here’s what George Miranda, International Vice President and President of New York’s Joint Council 16, had to say:

"By refusing to pay living wages to the workers who built the Frieze fairgrounds, Frieze Art Fair and sponsor Deutsche Bank are blemishes on the New York community. Frieze and Deutsche are driving down standards for working people in the art and exhibition industry while taking advantage of the New York City taxpayers who subsidize our parks. The Teamsters will always fight for good jobs in New York, now and for the long term. We are so honored that artists like Andrea Bowers are standing up for workers and speaking truth to the powerful corporations in the art and banking worlds."