Friday, September 23, 2011

VIDEO: Wall Street occupiers disrupt auction in solidarity with Local 814

This is awesome! Video of the Occupy Wall Street protesters disrupting a Sotheby's auction to show their support for the locked-out art handlers from Teamsters Local 814.

Just listen to the amount of the bids for the items being auctioned off.

Matt Renner at Truthout has the story:
Activists from the ongoing occupation in lower Manhattan called "Occupy Wall Street" infiltrated an art auction at the famous Sotheby's auction house and gallery, giving voice to the demands of the Occupy Wall Street movement and to stand in solidarity with Sotheby's workers who have been locked out in an ongoing labor dispute.
Forty-three members of the Teamsters Local 814, the art handlers at Sotheby's, were locked out on August 1, in the midst of contract negotiations. A press release issued by the Occupy Wall Street activists describes the hardball negotiating tactics of the Sotheby's management as a bid to destroy their workers' retirement protections and to replace the skilled handlers with temporary workers without benefits:
"[Sotheby's] wants the art handlers to give up their 401K plan and work a reduced 36-hour week, effectively a 10 percent wage cut. The company also wants to cap workers' overtime, eliminate certain titles that pay more, and, in initial bargaining, wanted workers to give up their right to sue over charges of discrimination."
This despite the fact that Sotheby’s just had its most profitable year ever in its 267 years of business and pays the CEO, Bill Ruprecht, approximately $60,000 a day, according to the union.
As Ari Paul so eloquently noted,
...they demand lower wages and fewer benefits for their workers not because these costs are too burdensome, but simply because they are ideologically motivated to widen the wealth gap at all costs, and know that there are plenty of jobless Americans who are willing to work for peanuts.