Economics News USA

Chicago art handlers to vote on unionising

The Teamsters have filed complaints against Mana-Terry Dowd for intimidating workers

The Teamsters have another art firm in their sights. Around 30 art handlers working for the Chicago-based company Mana-Terry Dowd—70% of who hold master’s degrees, the union says—are due to vote on joining Teamsters Local 705 on 25 April.

The Teamster have filed complaints against Mana-Terry Dowd with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that the management has threatened to fire workers supporting the union, according to a press release. Wages for art handlers working at the company start at $14 per hour, despite fact that many have completed a master’s degree or expensive certification.

The art handling company regularly transports and installs works for clients such as the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as the city’s private collectors. It was formed in February when the older company Terry Dowd, established in 1978, merged with the New Jersey-based Mana Contemporary LLC. Terry Dowd, the company’s president, did not respond immediately with a request for comment.

Earlier this month, the Teamsters claimed a victory when the Frieze Art Fair in New York agreed to use a partial union workforce for its May edition, something it had refused to do for the previous two iterations of the fair. The fair will only use union labour starting next year.

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