New York, NY - Low-wage workers in Greenwich Village have stood up to the largest art supplier in the United States and voted to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union [RWDSU].

In a 15 to 10 vote held on Tuesday, March 4, workers at the Utrecht Art Supplies store located at 21 East 13th Street near Union Square, chose to become the first unionized shop in the nationwide Blick Art Materials chain.

“I think the company really underestimated just how much time people had really put into this and how smart they are” lead organizer Stephanie Basille told LaborPress.
Blick took over the venerable New York City-based Utrecht Art Supplies outfit in April of last year. It wasn’t long after that when workers say things started to change, and employee hours were slashed.

In response, the hard-pressed workers - many of them artists - reached out to the RWDSU and started organizing, officially filing for an election this past January.

“When Utrecht was under different ownership, there was an atmosphere that was very conducive to nurturing workers as both employees and artists,” Basille adds. “Blick made it very clear that they’re just interested in cutting costs and not really investing in their workforce. The workers didn’t like that - and pushed against it.”

Artists In Revolt: Supply Store Workers Vote To Unionize