Caveat Emptor, Indeed! Occupy Wall Street Disrupts Sotheby's Auction

sothebys ruprecht Caveat Emptor, Indeed! Occupy Wall Street Disrupts Sotheby's Auction

Sotheby's CEO William Ruprecht

Here’s something we missed last week: on September 22, several activists involved in #OCCUPYWALLSTREET disrupted an auction at Sotheby’s on the Upper East Side. They said it was out of solidarity for the locked out art handlers union.

It begins as one lot had reached a bid of $130,000. A young woman stands up and announces that Sotheby’s made profits of $680 million last year (this is kind of a refrain for the protesters; they also unleash several attacks on Sotheby’s well-paid CEO William Ruprecht). In the most polite of auctioneer voices, the woman at the podium says, “Excuse me, madam, I would ask you to please leave this auction.”

The disruptions continue. The auctioneer says with an uncomfortable chuckle, “OK! Hopefully that’s the last interruption, ladies and gentleman. Let’s get back to business, OK?”

As one particularly livid protester stands up and announces, “Sotheby’s is fighting a class war against their workers and it is unacceptable!” the auctioneer says quietly to the audience, “Thank you for your patience, ladies and gentleman.”

It is quite a dramatic contrast. Have a look at the video here. Below it, #OCCUPYWALLSTREET posted a short note to viewers:

WE WILL NO LONGER TOLERATE BUSINESS AS USUAL.

DON’T LET SOTHEBY’S AUCTION OFF GOOD MIDDLE CLASS JOBS TO THE LOWEST BIDDER!

DON’T LET SOTHEBY’S AUCTION OFF THE AMERICAN DREAM!

MAKE WALL STREET PAY!

DOWN WITH SOTHEBY’S! DOWN WITH GREED!

UP WITH THE PEOPLE! UP WITH THE UNIONS!

#WEARECOMING

Hugs and Kisses,

#OCCUPYWALLSTREET Labor Group

Comments

  1. warrior-woman says:

    I don’t blame Sotheby’s for locking out their art “handlers” union, a more unprofessional, uncaring bunch of louts would be hard to find working around fine and valuable items. I worked there for 5 years and interacted with them almost daily, and I can confirm they could not have
    cared less about the beautiful antiques they dealt with. I still remember
    the way they mishandled the furniture,and had to be given yearly lectures
    on the correct way to do so, in the vain hope of diminishing damages or
    outright losses. Of course, they studiously ignored it all and just did
    what they wanted. After one Americana auction, one of the most beautiful Chippendale
    carved games tables we had (it sold for $95,000 without the buyer’s premium) was smashed into 18th
    century toothpicks when one of the
    union morons put it on a cart legs down, like he would have put it on the
    floor and rolled it away; when the wheels jammed against a concrete ridge in the floor
    and the cart stopped suddenly, the table went flying. But it was not a big deal to him, because he knew that
    all that would happen was that a letter would go into his file. I also remember a great early American sofa, one of them picked it up by one end and began
    pulling it along until the two legs being dragged just snapped off.

    Yeah, they were serious wastes of skin, with a few rare
    exceptions. The drug dealing, the dope smoking, the sleeping, the hiding so
    they would not have to work, all of this on company time – and for the elevated wages and benefits they
    got – was mindboggling. Christie’s is very lucky; it’s privately owned, so they don’t have to have a union crew. I know Sotheby’s would dearly love to ditch theirs permanently, and they have every right to want to do so.