Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Canada Teamsters picket Sotheby's auction in Toronto

Teamsters on Monday disrupted a Sotheby's auction in Toronto, bringing to six the number of major cities where the auction house's reputation for reckless greed has been spotlighted. Teamsters and our union brothers and sisters picketed the union-busting pawn shop for the rich in New York, London, Geneva, Sydney and now Toronto.

Sotheby's, which wants to turn good union jobs into crap Walmart jobs, didn't have any comment on the picket. But sometimes auctioned art speaks louder than words. Sotheby's auctioned off a painting called "Country Club" -- depicting two ladies lunching -- for $1,095,000, even as it deprived 43 art handlers of their paychecks. The .1 percent vs. the 99 percent.

Here's what Teamsters Canada had to say about the protest:
Sotheby’s has demanded pay cuts and the right to terminate the employees’ pension fund. The company also wants to replace experienced unionized handlers with temporary, unskilled employees. These demands come on the heels of record profits and changes to Sotheby’s board of directors, which NewsCorp’s James Murdoch joined last year. In 2010, the company earned $774 million and it recently nearly doubled the salary of its CEO.
Protesters held banners and distributed leaflets at the auction that read, “Sotheby’s Creates Misery” and “Stop The War On Art Workers.”
“Sotheby’s attack on workers is unconscionable when the company is earning record profits. Sotheby’s even hired the union-hostile law firm Jackson Lewis to attempt to starve the workers into agreeing to their demands,” said Randy Doner, President of Joint Council 52 of the Teamsters Union.
“I want to thank our Canadian brothers and sisters for their solidarity. My colleagues and I have families to feed, and we need this support as we fight for our jobs,” said Dorian Malloy, Jr., a seven-year art handler at Sotheby’s. “While Sotheby’s and the rest of the top 1 percent of Americans enjoy the majority of America’s wealth, those of us in the bottom 99 percent need to stick together and stand up to these abuses.”
The Globe and Mail describes the protest:
Clients at Sotheby’s Monday evening sale of Canadian art were met outside Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum by about 50 protesters who had set up an information picket line in support of locked-out art handlers at Sotheby’s in New York City.
With about seven police officers watching, the pickets, from local unions and labour organizations as well as a trio of handlers from New York, did nothing to impede visitors from entering the ROM...
We especially like this comment from our sister Kelly Leigh Andrews:
Now they did it. They got the Canadian Teamsters involved. They are so in trouble.
And here are some more photos of the action.