Pa. Convention Center and unions have differing views of auto show savings


A study of one major event at the Pennsylvania Convention Center shows a new labor agreement is saving money.  

That’s a turnaround for the Center City convention venue that has drawn criticism for being too expensive. A review of this years Philadelphia Auto Show expenses compared to the 2014 version documented major savings to the Automobile Dealers Association that stages the event.

John McNichol, president of the convention center says it shows how cooperation between unions and management can save money.

“We reduced the total number of manhours from last year to this year almost 5,400 hours so that a significant amount of time,” he said. “In certain categories we saw an almost 28 percent decrease in the cost.”

Carpenters union spokesman Martin O’Rourke says the show cost less because it was scaled back.

“If you build a ten story high rise last year and five story high rise this year you are going to need fewer workers to build it,” O’Rourke said.

The carpenters and Teamsters at first balked at the center’s new labor deal and so are two unions that are no longer working inside.  The kind of work they used to perform is being handled by other unions.

Michael Barnes of the Stagehands Union says they didn’t see the differences the carpenters are claiming.  He said even after accounting for benefits, his members cost less per hour than the carpenters.

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