Unite, PCS, RMT and other UK unions are backing campaign for reinstatement of 43 locked-out Sotheby’s workers


Officials of the US Teamsters union have called on a member of the board of art dealers Sotheby’s Diana Taylor to resign as chair of a major environmental and recreation park in New York city if she does not apologise for attacking art handlers locked out of their jobs for four months.

Taylor serves on the board of Sotheby’s, which the Teamsters say has refused to negotiate in good faith with 43 workers and threw them out of work on Aug. 1. Sotheby’s has held record-breaking auctions in recent weeks and reaped record profit of $680 million in 2010.

At a meeting this week of the Hudson River Park Trust, Taylor told Teamsters art handlers she’d resign from Sotheby’s board of directors if the auction house gave them back their jobs.

Taylor said, “I have had one conversation with [Sotheby’s CEO] Bill Ruprecht about this, and I told him that if he accedes to any of your demands, I will resign from the board.”

She was responding to questions from Julian Tysh and David Martinez. They are two of 43 Sotheby’s art handlers thrown out of work after the company demanded they accept wage and benefit cuts and the eventual dissolution of the union.

Teamsters Local 814 members have been joined by Occupy Wall Street in protests against Sotheby’s callous treatment of its workers. Taylor also serves on the board of Brookfield Properties, which recently ordered the eviction of the Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zuccotti Park. She is Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s domestic partner.

“I am outraged that Diana Taylor is deliberately hurting these workers who are standing up for their rights,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa

“We are shocked at Taylor’s blatant disregard for working New Yorkers and their families,” said Teamsters Local 814 President Jason Ide. “She must be acting out her boyfriend’s grudge against Occupy Wall Street by emboldening the one-tenth of the one percent against the 99 percent who just want to work to feed their families.”

Watch a film report of Julian Tysh and David Martinez speaking at this week’s HRPT meeting here:http://teamsternation.blogspot.com/2011/12/teamsters-bloombergs-girlfriend-must.html

Watch our film report of Jason Ide and UK trade unions lobbying Sotheby’s art sale in London here:

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