Leaders of the City’s top labor organizations stood with members of the City Council today to confront the organizers of the Frieze New York Art Show on their lack of support for union workers and their families. Members of Teamsters Joint Council 16, NYC Central Labor Council, IATSE Local 829, IATSE Local 1, NYC District Council of Carpenters and District Council 9 of Painters joined Councilmembers Melissa Mark-Viverito, Jessica Lappin and Mark Weprin at a press conference on the steps of City Hall to demand that the New York City Parks Department look into altering the permitting process for major private events in order to better evaluate labor standards.
The unions contend that Frieze NY and their local events coordinator, Production Glue, LLC, are continuing their discrimination against New York City’s union workers, which began with their first showing in 2012.
“It is an absolute insult that for the second year in a row, Frieze NY and Production Glue have purposely avoided using union labor by recruiting workers from as far away as Wisconsin to work here at Randall’s Island,” said George Miranda, President of Joint Council 16. “It is up to us, our elected officials and the citizens of New York City to force Frieze NY to stop freezing out our union workers.”
The labor groups that gathered today have reached out to the fair’s organizers on numerous occasions, only to be rebuffed time and time again.
“Frieze NY claims Production Glue is responsible, Production Glue claims Frieze NY is responsible,” said Vincent Alvarez, head of the NYC Central Labor Council. “These excuses are not good enough for New York City’s union workers and they are certainly not good enough for our community. These should be good, local jobs that support our economy and the hard-working working families of New York City.”
Several City Council members were on hand to voice their support for the unions.
“The Frieze Art Show is not a pretty picture for working New Yorkers. If a company is going to use our park, it should be guaranteeing local jobs and fair labor standards,” said Councilmember Jessica Lappin.
Councilmember Mark Weprin agreed, saying “Frieze NY Art Fair, or any private business that chooses to use public parks, should hire local New York workers and adhere to fair labor standards.”
Art world enthusiasts speculate that London based Frieze will become a permanent yearly fixture at Randall’s Island. This year, the festival will run on May 10-13, 2013 and will feature works from more than 1,000 artists from around the world.