Mayor Bloomberg’s normally reserved companion, Diana Taylor, lashed out at locked out Sotheby’s art handlers, who interrupted a planning commission meeting to question her about the stalled negotiations, according to a video of the incident posted on youtube. Union officials called on Gov. Cuomo to fire her.
“I have one thing to say to you. I have 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,” she said. “That’s all I have to say.”
“So you don’t support working families in new york,” a striker responded.
The rest was drowned out.
The Teamsters union promptly put out a press release headlined, “NY Mayor’s Girlfriend Acts on Grudge, Demands Sotheby’s Keep Art Handlers Out Of Work,” and “Teamsters Demand [Governor] Cuomo Fire Diana Taylor Unless She Apologizes, Supports Workers.” The workers have been locked out since Aug. 1.
The union says the company won’t negotiate in good faith, despite making $680 million in auctions last year. “I am deeply disturbed by this attack on working New York families by someone so closely associated with Mayor Bloomberg,” said George Miranda, president of Teamsters Joint Council 16. “I hope the mayor persuades Ms. Taylor to apologize and to cooperate with our art handlers who have suffered so much over the past four months. If not, Governor Cuomo should replace her immediately.”
“For her to take that position she must have been living in a gilded cage too long,” Miranda added.
Diana Phillips, a Sotheby’s spokeswoman, meanwhile, issued the following statement: “Despite our best efforts we have been unable to reach an agreement on a new labor contract. We have offered them a very fair contract, which includes wage increases in each year of the contract, increased contributions for health insurance premiums and continued participation in Sotheby’s 401K retirement plan which is the same as all our New York employees. That offer remains on the table.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 2, 2011