Locked Out Sotheby's Art Handlers, No. 84 On the Voice List of "Most Powerless New Yorkers," Back On the Job

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Sotheby's Art Handlers, Back On the Job, Are Not So Powerless Anymore
We guess we'll have to strike the art professionals who handle some of the world's most expensive items when they head to auction from our list of the "100 Most Powerless New Yorkers."

Crain's reported yesterday that auction house Sotheby's and the Teamsters worked out a deal which allows the art handlers to return to their jobs, following a 10-month long walkout. The new contract will last for three years and include wage increases.

We've been watching the tale of the art handlers over much of the past year, placing them as number 84 on our powerless list last January. This was following months of protest which didn't seem to be getting them anywhere, as the unpaid workers tried to feed their families and make ends with few cards left to play (and as Mayor Bloomberg's girlfriend told them publicly to go to hell).

But their efforts paid off, and now they're back on the job.

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Bloomberg Budget Slashes Homeless Youth Funding By $7 Million: Advocates

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Caleb Ferguson
Tiffany Cocco, a young homeless lesbian, was featured in the Voice's powerless list
Mayor Michael Bloomberg released his budget yesterday, and it's not a pretty read for children. According to Council Speaker Christine Quinn, it could axe 42,000 slots for childcare.

Also, according to a press release from the Ali Forney Center, it will wreak havoc on the number of beds available for homeless youth.

We included Tiffany Cocco, a homeless lesbian who has stayed at AFC, in our list of the 100 Most Powerless New Yorkers. As we noted back in January, "Cocco (and nearly 4,000 homeless youth, who are disproportionately LGBT) has to fight for one of less than 300 shelter beds for homeless kids. Of those on the street, about 20 percent become HIV-positive. The budget to help combat homelessness has gone down under Mayor Bloomberg's tenure, while rates of homelessness (and his personal wealth) have consistently risen."

The beds currently funded this fiscal year don't begin to address the problem. Now, according to AFC, the mayor plans to cut an additional "$7 million to the city's Runaway and Homeless Youth Services, " which will "eliminate 160 youth shelter beds."

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Locked Out Art Handlers Have 14 Million New Reasons To 'Scream' At Sotheby's

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Sotheby's made over $14 million from a single sale yesterday
As you may have heard, Sotheby''s had a good day yesterday, auctioning off Edward Munch's "The Scream" for a record $119.9 million dollars.

Not having such a good day? The still locked-out art handlers at Sotheby's, who appeared as number 84 on the Voice's list of the "100 Most Powerless New Yorkers" last January and have been locked out from the auction house for nine months now.

In a nut shell, Sotheby's thinks it offered its workers a fair contract for the business it is doing last summer. As the website Flavorwire summarized of the other side, the unionized workers see it a bit differently:

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Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, on the Living Wage Bill

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Stuart Appelbaum
When Speaker Christine Quinn presented her compromised version of the Living Wage Bill last week, we immediately wondered how it would affect retail-clothing workers, #47 on the Voice's list of the 100 Most Powerless New Yorkers.

We got in touch with Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. Via an email Q&A, we asked Appelbaum all of the questions we had about the proposed bill, from how many people it would affect, to if (after Quinn's compromise) it would actually help employees of tenants of city subsidized projects.

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Queer Rising Gets Arrested, Other LGBT Activists Pile on Cuomo Over Homeless Youth Funding in Budget

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Queer Rising
The activists over at Queer Rising, who got arrested again and again and again during the past couple of years fighting for marriage equality, took it to the streets yesterday and initiated their first encounter of 2012 with handcuffs in front of Governor Andrew Cuomo's midtown office.

According to a press release, this time Queer Rising was protesting a lack of increase in funding for homeless youth in Cuomo's budget.

"Hours after New York State Governor Cuomo released his 2012 budget proposal -- which neglected to add a single penny of additional funding to provide adequate shelter for runaway and homeless youth -- outraged members of the LGBT community gathered to protest outside his Manhattan office," Queer Rising wrote in a press release. They added that about two dozen people participated in the demonstration but only four -- Ted McGuire, Natasha Dillon, Jake Goodman, and Melissa Kleckner, pictured below from left to right -- sat on the sidewalk in front of Cuomo's office until they were arrested.

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Brian Lehrer Discusses the Voice's "100 Most Powerless New Yorkers" on WNYC (AUDIO)

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WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show did a segment on "The 100 Most Powerless New Yorkers" on its Martin Luther King, Jr. day show this morning. Audio of the segment is embedded below.

Our segment looked at the silly side of "power lists," and at the serious side of some of those we included on our powerless list. Brian was specifically interested in asking us why we included Public Advocate Bill de Blasio as #8 on our list (right between "Carriage Horses" and "The Person Holding the Sign at the End of the Trader Joe's Line") and why the list wasn't in any particular order.

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Martin Luther King, Defender of the "Most Powerless"

Today is day we honor Martin Luther King, Jr. in the United States, one of the single individuals to do the most of anyone in advancing the cause of civil rights in our nation during the twentieth century.

It's worth remembering King's time in New York -- specifically two events, which both relate to our list of "The 100 Most Powerless New Yorkers," on the cover of this week's Voice -- in considering King's legacy on the nation and his impact on modern American politics, over four decades after his death.

The first is his (above) speech titled "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence," delivered at Riverside Church one year to the day prior to King's assassination in Memphis.

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City Looks to Sell Three Lower Manhattan Properties; Scott Stringer Says He Has the Power To Stop It

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As part of his State of the City speech yesterday, Mayor Mike Bloomberg -- in a discussion about revenue -- said the city plans to sell three Lower Manhattan properties. It was just a few sentences, but it gave Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer a chance today to remind us all that his position, often seen as somewhat nebulous, does in fact matter.

Bloomberg broke the news while discussing how he would finance the many initiatives he outlined in his speech. He said that this year he will put up for sale three city-owned buildings (22 Reade Street, 49-51 Chambers Street, and 346 Broadway), which he anticipates will bring more than $100 million next year for the capital budget, $100 million in private sector tax revenue, and cost savings over the next 20 years. The properties are currently occupied by city agencies, including Corrections, City Planning, Parks and also Community Board 1, all of which would be relocated.

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Yetta Kurland Chats With the Voice on WWRL About the "100 Most Powerless New Yorkers"

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Last night, Yetta Kurland Live devoted the entire show to discussing the Voice's "100 Most Powerless New Yorkers."

Yetta did a pre-recorded segment with us about the Voice's selections for the city's most powerless at the top of the hour. That was followed by a live discussion with Dodge Landesman of Community Board 6 and with photojournalist Michael Premo, who shot pictures for the Voice's coverage of Mary Lee Ward (#14 on the list) and the Black Hebrew Israelites (#96).

Here's the full audio. Take a listen.



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DJ Spooky Spinning Tonight for the OWS People's Librarians, Who Are Number 34 on the Voice's "100 Most Powerless New Yorkers"

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Caleb Ferguson
As the Voice's Nick Pinto was reporting last night, Zuccotti Park re-opened after Brookfield Properties emoved the barricades surrounding the plaza. One of the first elements to re-assert Occupy Wall Street's presence was the People's Library. The librarians and were a constant presence from the beginning of the Occupy movement last year, and after their books were trashed during the NYPD raid, we made them number 34* on the Voice's list of "The 100 Most Powerless New Yorkers," which is on the cover of this week's paper.

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