Union carpenters working inside convention center as brothers protest outside

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 Carpenter Ron Curran protests outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Monday in Philadelphia (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Carpenter Ron Curran protests outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Monday in Philadelphia (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

tWhile one group of union carpenters holds almost daily protests outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center saying they are locked out, some other carpenters are working inside. 

“I think it’s the height of hypocrisy,” said Michael Barnes of the stagehands union.  According to him, a six-member work crew of unionized carpenters is on the job inside the convention center. They’re hired by an outside contractor even while fellow union members are protesting outside.

Barnes says his union members, who have a deal to work at the center, have had to walk by protesting carpenters.

“There’s been some name calling obviously when you got to walk by guys with placards there’s been some exchanges occuring as they walk in the building. We’ve told our people not to respond to that just keep it professional and go to work. We’ve been maintaining that protocall,” he said.

Pete Peterson, spokesman for the convention center, says the protests by the carpenters are ramping up.

“They really crossed the line in our mind from protest to waging economic war when they asked the letter carriers to cancel their convention in Philadelphia,” said Peterson. “The fact that they have carpenters in the building on a daily basis and they are asking a $24 million convention to cancel boggles the mind.” 

Marty O’Rourke, spokesman for the carpenters union, refused an interview but did confirm that the crew is working inside the building. He says they have nothing to do with the outside protests.

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