Monday, October 24, 2011

Another tough week for Sotheby's ahead?

Handbilling Diana Taylor's big event.
Quite a few Sotheby's socialites have been made to feel the disgust of Occupy Wall Street in the past few weeks. The union-busting auction house is also being derided by the art press, the British Parliament, celebrities, investors and unions acting in solidarity with the 43 art handlers from Local 814 who've been locked out of their jobs for three months.

One wonders which Sotheby's socialites will be targeted this week. Angela Bassett, who crossed the Teamster picket line even as she stars in a play about Martin Luther King the night before he died fighting for collective bargaining rights?

Will Sotheby's director Danny Meyer get dinged again? OWSers caused a commotion in his Union Square restaurant, videotaped it and put it on youtube. It not only went viral, it got picked up by the New York food blogs.

Will Sotheby's director James Murdoch feel more heat from investors? Last week they asked that he be removed from the board. They may well have something else up their collective sleeve.

Occupy Wall Street is striking fear into the hearts of New York's 1 percent even as the Sotheby's Economy becomes a watchword for the movement. This is how afraid they are: Security was stepped up recently at a Lincoln Center apartment building because the walker-wielding Granny Peace Brigade scheduled a silent vigil nearby. Sotheby's is virtually a fortress now, with extremely tight security and a requirement to deposit a $2,500 check before entering an auction.

For Occupy Wall Street, the auction house now symbolizes the way the 1 percent preys on the 99 percent. Sotheby's CEO, who already makes $60,000 a day, is trying to engorge his own bank account by turning good Teamster jobs into crap Walmart jobs -- for no reason other than he wants to.

Sotheby's doesn't even make anything. It just moves stuff around and extracts a transaction fee. That's pretty much all Wall Street does. And that's why OWSers piled into buses last week to join the Teamsters for a rally in front of Sotheby's Upper East Side showroom.

The alliance between locked-out Teamsters and Occupy Wall Street has also given birth to the Merry Pranksters, who engage in direct action to embarrass and expose people tied to Sotheby's.  The Merry Pranksters were the ones who caused the commotion at the Danny Meyer restaurants. They disrupted two Sotheby's auctions. Best of all, they infilrated a lavish Sotheby's party and videotaped one rich old bat mocking the poor. The New York Observer, a popular New York newspaper, posted the video.

Diana Taylor, Mayor Bloomberg's girlfriend, was the latest Sotheby's socialite to be dinged. Taylor, a graduate of the Angela Bassett School of Cluelessness, hosted a fancy charity dinner for Accion last week. Teamsters handbilled outside the dinner to point out that Accion helps people work their way out of poverty. Taylor sits on Sotheby's board, which is trying to work people into poverty.

Members of the British Parliament are signing onto a motion to censure Sotheby's for the lockout even as the art press is asking the auction house to end its "idiotic lockout." Photos of Susan Sarandon wearing a Teamsters jacket have appeared in the New York Post, People and the Examiner.

Teamsters 814 art handlers are vowing to keep up the fight. As Tommy McCallister said to the OWSers who joined the picket line last week, "We're not giving up until someone goes down, and I'm not going down."