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Opulent Sothebys' Appalling Treatment of Its Workers Is a Perfect Symbol of the Out of Touch 1%

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When I arrived at Sotheby's on New York's Upper East Side before a massive art auction on Wednesday night, the three-month-old picket line outside the institution was peopled by a couple dozen Teamsters and supporters there on behalf of locked-out workers. They were using whistles, carrying signs and standing beneath one of those giant inflated rats, getting revved up for the evening ahead.

I turned to one guy at the end of the block, asking, "Has the Occupy Wall Street contingent come yet?"

His eyes widened: "They're coming?"

Yes, they were coming, as were legions of the world's wealthiest, for an auction that would mark the end of the "fall auction season"--a busy period of multimillion-dollar purchases that is one reason Sotheby's claims it won't negotiate with workers.

Some of the new arrivals pulling up to the curb were about to make a record number of bids on $315 million worth of modern art. A few works went for over $60 million a piece that night.

The other new arrivals were there to shame them for doing just that, while middle-class workers were locked out.