Iron Workers Union Pleads With Pennsylvania Convention Center
As the BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology wraps up today at Philadelphia's Pennsylvania Convention Center, the show will be broken down by the workers representing the four unions that signed the venue's new customer satisfaction agreement by Monday last week. The two unions that did not sign by May 5 --Teamsters 107 and Carpenters Local 8 -- delivered signed agreements last Friday, May 9, which the convention center board and management claim was past the signing deadline. One of the signing unions, the Iron Workers Local 405, will not do the work of the carpenters today out of solidarity, according to general vice president Stephen Sweeney. Sweeney issued a statement Wednesday, in which he urged the convention center leadership to accept the agreements from the ousted unions. "As one of the signatories to the customer service agreement, we are troubled by the Pennsylvania Convention Center Board's ongoing refusal to accept the signed customer service agreements that the carpenters and teamsters unions hand-delivered to PCC executive director John McNichol last Friday," the statement reads, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal. "If the goal was to have all six unions sign the CSA, then we have accomplished that goal and it's time to move forward and end this labor dispute now -- before any irreversible harm is done." The Carpenters Local 8 and Teamsters 107 unions filed an unfair labor practice charge earlier this week with the National Labor Relations Board. According to convention center spokesperson Pete Peterson, the venue leadership made the deadline "quite clear" in the original transmittal letter, as well as when they denied the two unions' request for an extension. What's more, according to Peterson, Carpenters Local 8 executive secretary and treasurer Ed Coryell said in the May 6 meeting with the board that the carpenters' union would not sign the agreement. As for the Iron Workers 405 refusal to do any carpentry, "The work performed by the iron workers has not expanded beyond what they performed in the past," said Peterson. "There was no chance they were going to do any of the work previously performed by the carpenters."