Carpenters ready to sign labor deal, but Convention Center says window is closed

     (Nathaniel Hamilton/NewsWorks Photo, file)

    (Nathaniel Hamilton/NewsWorks Photo, file)

    Union carpenters in Philadelphia say they are willing to sign a labor agreement with the Pennsylvania Convention Center, but it may be too late. 

    Union carpenters in Philadelphia say they are now willing to sign onto a labor agreement with the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority that they previously rejected, but it may be too late.

    On Tuesday, the Convention Center’s board authorized new work rules that supporters say will bring in bigger and better shows. Four labor unions agreed to the terms, but Carpenters Local 8 and Teamsters Local 107 shot them down.

    But the carpenters have reversed course. Union leader Edward Coryell Sr. signed the contract and hand-delivered it to the center management Friday afternoon, said spokesman Martin O’Rourke.

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    “We believe it’s good for the city. It’s good for the Convention Center. It’s good for all parties involved,” said O’Rourke. “The carpenters want to move forward. Now they’re ready to go to work on Monday.”

    But Convention Center spokesman Pete Peterson said there is no appetite to rewrite the deal to include the carpenters.

    “They were given the same opportunity all of the other trade unions were,” he said. “It was made clear to them through multiple conversations and through communications to their attorney that they had until 11:59 p.m. on Monday to sign. They chose not to.”

    John McNichol, CEO of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority, said the teamsters also indicated that they are now willing to agree to the new terms. But that, too, is “unacceptable,” he said. A call to the union was not returned.

    The work at the center that would have gone to the carpenters and teamsters will now be split up among the other four unions.

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