Teamsters Protest Celebrity Gala at Met Museum

Sep 27, 2011, 15:11 ET from Teamsters Local 814

Art Handlers Demand Met and Sotheby's Board Members 'Stop The Discrimination'

NEW YORK, Sept. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Professional art handlers and their supporters protested in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's annual diversity-themed gala yesterday. Protestors called on museum board members to end an eight-week-long lockout of professional art handlers at Sotheby's Auction House.


Despite making record profits of more than $680 million in gross profit last year, the auction house has locked out its staff of 43 art handlers, most of who are minorities. Sotheby's wants to replace its longtime, dedicated art handlers with replacement workers.

Metropolitan Museum board members Michel David-Weill and Carroll Petrie serve on the board of advisors at Sotheby's. The protesters distributed handbills that read, "Michel David-Weill: Stop The Discrimination" and "What's Gone Wrong at the Met?"

"Throwing hard-working African-American and Latino workers out on the street without paychecks is the wrong way to celebrate diversity," said Jason Ide, President of Teamsters Local 814. Local 814 represents the art handlers at Sotheby's.

Sotheby's management continues to insist on eliminating retirement for current employees and eliminating benefits and union protections for all new employees.

"It's like they're trying to take us back to the 1950s," said forty-two year art handler Sim Jones. "This has always been a dignified job that you could be proud of. It looks like they're trying to take that away."

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