Mayor’s Girlfriend, a Sotheby’s Boardmember, Dismisses Locked-Out Art Handlers’ Demands

12/05/2011 10:34 AM |

(Courtesy Sothebys)

  • (Courtesy Sotheby’s)

Remember the lock-out of Upper East Side art auction house Sotheby’s unionized art handlers that began all the way back on August 1st? Well, it’s still happening. Last week two of the 43 locked-out art handlers confronted Sotheby’s boardmember Diana Taylor—girlfriend of New York City general mayor Mike Bloomberg—during a public meeting, and things didn’t go so well (video below!).

As you can see in the clip above, the two art handlers who were in attendance at the December 1 meeting of the Hudson River Park Trust—of whose board of directors Taylor is chairwoman—asked the investment executive and former New York State Superintendent of Banks, “what you have against working families and working New Yorkers. We want to know when you’re going to do the right thing and end the lockout.”

Taylor very coolly and calmly adds fuel to the fire:

I have one thing to say to you. I’ve had one conversation with [Sotheby’s President] Bill Ruprecht about this, and I told him that if he accedes to any of your demands, I will resign from the board.

The two workers are understandably irked by the comment, and were presumably asked to leave immediately thereafter.

In a statement after the confrontation Jason Ide, president of Teamsters Local 814, of the art handlers’ union, said:

We are shocked at Taylor’s blatant disregard for working New Yorkers and their families. Living with Mike Bloomberg has clearly turned Taylor into an elitist with callous disregard for working families. It’s time someone gave her a wake-up call.

Taylor, incidentally, is also a boardmember at Brookfield Properties, the company that owns Zuccotti Park, the epicenter of the Occupy Wall Street protests. Not surprisingly, OWS protesters and the locked-out Sotheby’s art handlers have been very supportive of one another. Few disputes illustrate vast income disparity so clearly as that over living wages for employees of an auction house doing several billion dollars in business every year.