Crain’s reports on the details of Sotheby’s deal with its own art handlers, a group who had become a convenient symbol of frustration with the wealthy. Throughout the nearly year-long labor confrontation, the question that has hung over Sotheby’s and its management was not whether it was being fair to its art handlers.
The question was whether Sotheby’s management could possibly gain anything in the new contract that would compensate for the bad publicity and disruption of two major auction cycles.
The lockout’s longevity seems to have been a function of Sotheby’s own choices. Here’s how Crain’s explains the settlement:
A breakthrough in the 10-month standoff came last month when Sotheby’s replaced its law firm, Jackson Lewis, with Proskauer. Bob Batterman, the Proskauer attorney who represented the National Football League during its lockout of players last year, took over the negotiations for Sotheby’s.
“Ever since that change happened, they wanted to bargain,” Mr. [Jason] Ide said.
The terms of the new art handler’s contract are:
The three-year deal, reached in the last week, boosts wages 1% in each year, lifts the starting salary to $18.50 an hour, and maintains the workers’ benefits, according to Jason Ide, president of Teamsters Local 814, which represents the 42 workers. Sotheby’s had sought to permanently replace some of the union art handlers with temporary nonunion workers, but the deal protects the positions as union jobs, Mr. Ide said.
Sotheby’s, Teamsters hammer out a deal (Crain’s)