The Wall Street Journal has news that Sotheby’s art handlers are having trouble coming to a new union contract with their employer:
Sotheby’s wants to offer buyouts and replace some of the unionized art handlers with nonunion labor, according to Teamsters Local 814 President Jason Ide.
The union, however, says the auction house shouldn’t be asking for concessions on the heels of the second-most-profitable period in its history. […]
“They’ve had an amazing year and that’s a testament to the success of their business, but it’s also a testament to the abilities” of handlers and other employees, Mr. Ide said.
“Some of our longest-term workers who have the most skill in handling rare furniture, Picassos, Old Master paintings—who really know the packing and the crating—they’re talking about eliminating those jobs,” he said. “I think it just shows the lack of respect for the skill that goes into these jobs.” […]
The union completed negotiations with Christie’s in April, striking a four-year deal under which the auction house agreed to increase headcount to 49 from 46 by September, and then to 51 by March 2012.
Sotheby’s, Handlers Aim to Close Deal (Wall Street Journal)