Auction House Opens Its Fall Season With Chinese Art, Teamster Protests

Sep 09, 2011, 11:00 ET from Teamsters Local 814

'Sotheby's is Bad for Art,' Workers Say

NEW YORK, Sept. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Teamster members and supporters protested outside Sotheby's Manhattan showroom today as the company (NYSE: BID) opened its fall auction season with its annual media preview of Chinese paintings and ceramics to be auctioned next week.

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The protesters held banners and signs that read, "Sotheby's: Bad for Art" and "Abuse", "Mistreat" and "Disgrace" in Chinese.

Teamsters and supporters were protesting Sotheby's decision to lock out its longtime, professional art handlers and bring in temporary replacement workers. The locked-out art handlers have been on the street since July 31 with no paychecks.

"Replacing experienced professionals with outsourced workers is a bad way to handle New York's and China's fine art. Buyers and sellers of Chinese art need to know that the experienced and dedicated art handlers who usually protect their priceless works of art will not be handling that art at auction next week," said Jason Ide, President of Teamsters Local 814, which represents the 43 locked-out workers.

"Sotheby's hired Jackson Lewis, America's most notorious union-hostile law firm, to sabotage our contract talks. Jackson Lewis specializes in helping New York employers destroy permanent, professional jobs by bringing in a temporary workforce with high turnover. New York can't afford to lose more good, middle-class jobs," said George Miranda, Teamsters International Vice President and President of Teamsters Joint Council 16 in New York.

Sotheby's locked out the workers during contract negotiations. The lockout comes after the most profitable year in the company's history. In the 2nd quarter of 2011, Sotheby's reported revenue of $353 million, up 31 percent from 2010. Sotheby's CEO Bill Ruprecht's salary almost doubled in 2010 to $6 million.

Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit for more information.

SOURCE Teamsters Local 814