Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It's Month 9 of the Sotheby's lockout, and Teamsters are still fighting

When life hands you a job loss, lemonade doesn't help.
They're like the Energizer bunny, those Teamsters art handlers from Local 814. They've been locked out since August 1, and they're still fighting hard against the greed of the 1 percent.

To get a sense of the energy, listen to a radio news report here about a recent action:
Organizer Julian Tysh does his usual great job of  telling it like it is. He explains why the art handlers are refusing to bow to Sotheby's demands that the union be gradually dissolved:
We have to suffer now to preserve good jobs for the future.
And he describes what Sotheby's is all about:
This is where the 1 percent does its shopping... (CEO) Bill Ruprecht makes $60,000 a day...there's no economic need for what they're asking from us. They're trying to assert themselves anyway. They're trying to take advantage of what they thought was an antiuunion climate. I've got news for them: That climate has changed... 
Corporate greed in this country is out of control and it's wrecked too many communities and too many neighborhoods and too many good jobs.
The Teamsters, with the support of the Occupy movement, are pressuring Sotheby's board members to force Ruprecht to give them their jobs back. That's why they rallied in front of Gramercy Tavern, a tony restaurant owned by board member Danny Meyer. The photo above shows what happened. A waiter came out and offered them lemonade.

Their good friend Harrison Magee describes what happened:
It was Friday evening, outside Gramercy Tavern (one of NYC's top restaurants). A group of about 6 Teamsters and supporters hung out on the sidewalk with the rat handbilling throughout the dinner rush. Meyer wasn't around himself, but he sent two of the managers out with lemonade (on a silver platter), and then some appetizers. Both were turned down.

We told the restaurant staff that getting rid of us was much easier than sending lemonade, and that each of them had the power to influence Meyer to do something about Sotheby's, for the sake of restoring peace to their restaurants. A lot of the customers were confused, but most of them were receptive to the handbill and stopped for a quick conversation- at least two people decided not to go into the restaurant after hearing what was happening at Sotheby's.
Magee tweeted out the twitpic above and this:
#dannymeyer offers locked out #sothebys #teamsters drinks, denies them jobs. #notthirsty @SothebysBad4Art @Gothamist