It is — or seems to be — a wise sort of thing, to realise that all that happens to a man in this life is only by way of joke, especially his misfortunes, if he have them. And it is also worth bearing in mind, that the joke is passed round pretty liberally & impartially, so that not very many are entitled to fancy that they in particular are getting the worst of it.

Herman Melville ; The Writings of Herman Melville : The Northwestern-Newberry Edition


I want a job.  A permanent job.  A lot of other people want exactly the same thing.  Millions of us.  We come from backgrounds far and wide, from all strata of society, we are Black, White, Hispanic, Asian.   We are democrats and republican.  We are liberal and conservative.  We want to be productive members of society, but seemingly society does not want anything to do with us, or would at the very most want us to just go away.

We aren’t going anywhere.  We are Americans too.  We have a place here, and we want a job.  You, corporations and businesses of America, have money, trillions of dollars as a unit.  Yet you do not hire, you do not spend.  You would prefer to hold on with the few that you have, because you are getting by.

With us helping you, you could do more than just get by.  You could prosper.  Short term you might have to spend some more, but a short term investment in people will go a long way in making those people and your company stronger and better.

We can’t hire ourselves, if we could we already would have.

Help us help America, and help Americans help themselves.  Hire us.


Sotheby’s, a place I worked for 8 months as a temporary art handler, perhaps the best job I have ever had, and a place that has me crossing my fingers that I can get a permanent regular job as a permanent art handler there at some point, has locked out it’s unionized art handlers.

43 of my brothers are out on their asses because Sotheby’s has decided that the offer from this massively profitable corporation, which from what I have heard was fair for Sotheby’s, not for the members of the teamsters that work there, was good, and locked out the handlers when they disagreed.

There were, as I recall, 56 art handlers at Sotheby’s at the end of 2006.  13 men, 13 fine, strong hard working men, have left Sotheby’s between firings and retirement over the last 5 years.  None have been replaced.  None.

Former temps, like myself, had been brought in to fill in the gap over that time. Exactly zero have been hired permanently in that time.  Zero.   I was told, several people I worked with were told we were good enough at the job to be hired, but because of a “hiring freeze” could not be hired.  Used for 1,000 hours, which is the length of the contract, and then cast aside.

Sotheby’s sees nothing wrong with that.  Which seems just a bit out of touch.  And they have brought in a fresh set of temps, scabs in reality, to cover things until the lockout is over.  Very out of touch.

In the last 4 years, Sotheby’s has had 2 of it’s best years ever.  Wealthy people in this down economy have used art as a place to invest.  Every year, even with the soft economy, Hundreds of millions are made each year.   Hundreds of millions.

And yet they would try to save a dime on the backs of the people who do the actual work, who set up the displays, who bring the art in, set up the floors, work the lighting, and interact with the customers daily.

This is silly.   Let the handlers do their jobs, give them enough people to get the job done right, and pay them a fair wage for the job they do.

Oh, and BTW, I will NOT cross that picket-line to work.  I am not a scab, I am a man.  I may be hard up for work and money, but I have standards.

Good luck, fellas.  Fight the good fight, and if you can get those extra spots open, save one for me.


That’s it from here, America. G’night.


One thought on “Work

  1. Post edited 8/16/11. Edited to make it abundantly clear that, while I am an ex-temp at Sotheby’s, I am NOT working as a scab.

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