Last night, representatives from Teamster’s Local 814, which represents the locked-out Sotheby’s art handlers, rallied at 820 Fifth Avenue in an apparently effective effort–collector Lily Safra sent sandwiches!–to garner support among Sotheby’s honchos and clients.
Among those associated with Sotheby’s in the building are Michael David-Weill, a descendant of one of the founders of Lazard Frères & Co. and a Sotheby’s board member, Citadel Investment Group founder and art collector Kenneth Griffin and dealer William Acquavella. The Sotheby’s art handlers were locked out after the company failed to renew their contract in late July. Sotheby’s raised the ire of the locked-out workers last month by allegedly hiring part-time workers from Crozier Fine Arts.
Teamsters Local 814 president Jason Ide told Gallerist that they found a great deal of sympathy in the socialite, frequent Sotheby’s client and former MoMA board member Lily Safra.
“I worked at Sotheby’s and the workers always had a great relationship with Mrs. Safra,” Mr. Ide said. “She always went out of her way to thanks us for the work we did for her, and we did everything we could to take care of her and her property because she had several big sales.”
Mrs. Safra came to the window last night, Mr. Ide said, and even sent associates with sandwiches for the striking workers.
“It’s good that Lily Safra did this,” Mr. Ide said. “It sends a message to prominent New Yorkers.”
Though she’s featured rather prominently in an upcoming auction this month — “Property from the collections of Lily & Edmond J. Safra, Volumes I-IV” — Mr. Ide said the work was consigned well before the art handlers lock-out. If the lock-out continues into the fall sales, Mr. Ide assured Gallerist that the Teamsters have made plans to continue their protest efforts. More on that to come.