Construction projects threatened by looming strike

    A strike could be on the horizon involving the General Building Contractors Association and the trade unions representing carpenters and cement masons among others. The strike could halt work on some of Philadelphia’s major construction projects.

    A strike could be on the horizon involving the General Building Contractors Association and the trade unions representing carpenters and cement masons among others. The strike could halt work on some of Philadelphia’s major construction projects.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090423tmgbca.mp3]

    The current contract between contractors and the unions expires at midnight on April 30. The big issues are pay and benefits. David Crawford is with Econsult and works with both management and labor. He says paying a union carpenter $37.40 per hour plus benefits can be justified.

    Crawford: There’s quite a bit of evidence that suggests that many union tradesmen are more skilled than nonunion tradesman and that may be reflected in the higher wage.

    Construction jobs are down and the Contractors Association says about 25 percent of people in the trades are not working. Pat Gillespie works with the unions as head of the Building Trades Council. He says work isn’t constant.

    Gillespie: It’s feast or famine in the construction business, it’s just the nature of the business.

    Union contractors control most of the big jobs in the region, so a strike could stop work on major projects.

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