Teamsters Take On the 1% at Sotheby’s

December 2, 2011: Sotheby’s, the auction house for the super-rich on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, pulled in $680 million last year. That hasn’t stopped management from demanding across-the-board concessions and the replacement of Teamster jobs with part-time, nonunion temp jobs.

Forty-two Teamsters of Local 814 have been locked-out since August. Sotheby’s has hired the union-busting firm Jackson Lewis to lead their negotiations.

The company didn’t expect a fight. But they got one.

Occupy Wall Street protesters have adopted the Teamster struggle at Sotheby’s, “where the 1% go to shop.”

The International Union and Joint Council 16 have lent their support.

Other union members have joined the picket lines, including Ironworkers, CWA members at Verizon, and NYC subway and bus operators from the Transport Workers Union.

Hundreds of union members, students and protesters rallied outside the auction house at Sotheby’s biggest auctions of the year this November.

Supporters have appeared at black-tie galas attended by Sotheby’s Board members. They’ve stood up during Sotheby’s auctions to denounce union busting.

Sotheby’s responded by charging a $5,000 deposit for attending auctions. Protesters countered by blocking entrances and engaging in civil disobedience.

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