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Sotheby’s, Teamsters hammer out a deal

The auction house and its art handlers bring down the gavel on a new three-year pact, ending a 10-month lockout marked by disruptive protests.

Workers who handle Picassos, Rembrandts and other pricey artwork for Sotheby’s overwhelmingly ratified a new contract Thursday, ending a 10-month lockout that had become a signature fight of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The three-year deal, reached in the last week, boosts wages 1% in each year, lifts the starting salary to $18.50 an hour, and maintains the workers’ benefits, according to Jason Ide, president of Teamsters Local 814, which represents the 42 workers. Sotheby’s had sought to permanently replace some of the union art handlers with temporary nonunion workers, but the deal protects the positions as union jobs, Mr. Ide said.

“The most important thing is these guys are going back to work,” Mr. Ide said. “They love being art handlers. They got into this line of work because they care about art and taking care of it.”