Friday, March 9, 2012

RFK Jr. joins Teamsters on Sotheby's picket line

On the Sotheby's picket line this morning. RFK Jr. wears a white shirt.
(NOTE: Adds new graf with Kennedy saying he couldn't cross a picket line.)

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., told picketing Teamsters today that he had come face-to-face with Sotheby's callous indifference to working families.

Kennedy had canceled an auction at Sotheby's in sympathy with Local 814's 42 art handlers, who have been locked out for seven months. The event to benefit Kennedy's environmental group, Waterkeeper Alliance, was moved to another venue.

"I talked to them and they just don't care," Kennedy told about two dozen members of Local 814 walking the picket line outside of the auction house.

One worker asked him why he moved his auction. "I couldn't have my event here," Kennedy said. "I couldn't cross a picket line."

Kennedy's visit came on the same day that Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa announced that he was donating their correspondence to the union's archives at The International Brotherhood of Teamsters Labor History Research Center at The George Washington University in Washington.

Kennedy wrote,
I know that our families have been at odds in the past. But you and I have spent our lifetimes fighting off the right wing attacks on the union movement and battling to make our country live up to her historical ideal as a template for justice and democracy.
Hoffa responded,
Thank you for joining in with the chorus of labor unions, Occupy Wall Street and others who believe in economic justice and a strong middle class, to help the art handlers. This injustice is yet another example of the class warfare being waged by the top 1 percent.
Dave Martinez, shop steward, said Kennedy was really nice.
He just came up to one of the guys and introduced himself. He was really cool about it.