Negotiations between Sotheby’s and the Teamsters Local 814, which represents the auction house’s 43 art union art handlers, fell through yesterday when representatives for Sotheby’s walked away from the bargaining table some two and a half hours after the talks began.
According to Local 814 President Jason Ide, the meeting consisted of a review of Sotheby’s previous terms — no small task given the number of open issues reportedly on the table — and the Teamsters’ counter-proposal. Nothing appeared to be particularly offensive to the Sotheby’s team, or their hard nose legal team from Jackson Lewis, but they apparently left soon after the counter-proposal without offering a response to it.
“We were prepared to stay the whole day and work toward a compromise,” said Mr. Ide told The Observer. “But they didn’t want to do that, which has been indicative of what their attitude has been this whole time, kind of a ‘my way or the highway’ attitude.”
In retaliation today, locked-out workers descended on the “Squash in the Hamptons” tournament in Southampton today to distribute fliers to the attendees of the Sotheby’s-sponsored event. Recipients of the fliers read them, Mr. Ide reported.
The union workers’ contract expired early last month, but the talks became tense when, at the end of July, Sotheby’s told the union workers not to bother coming into work. Sotheby’s did not immediately respond to our request for comment.