After DRPA, ‘Johnny Doc’ targets the convention center

    After his successful call for reform at the DRPA, Philadelphia electricians’ union leader, John Dougherty, now wants a row at the Philadelphia Convention Center.

    Reforms now underway at the Delaware River Port Authority are partly the result of complaints from Philadelphia electricians’ union leader John Dougherty. Lately, Dougherty has been expanding his political reach, and itching for a fight at the convention center.

    Dougherty has long been a force in city politics – raising and spending millions in union political contributions, backing and opposing political candidates and getting posts on influential boards. After a rough stretch in which he was forced out of a leadership post in the Philadelphia Democratic Party and lost a run for State Senate, Dougherty has been making noise again.

    In March, he won an election to become a South Philadelphia ward leader, and his complaints about executive perks and secrecy at the Port Authority generated media coverage and helped force major reforms. Dougherty is now after leaders of the Philadelphia Convention Center, accusing them in harshly worded letters, of a secret plan to dump organized labor from the center.

    Convention center leaders say Dougherty has it wrong, and he has plenty of critics who say he’s mostly about building his own power and influence. Dougherty says he’s just representing his members, and he isn’t going away.

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