Pennsylvania Convention Center’s new work rules and the union reaction

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Guests: John McNichol, Tom Ferrick and Tom MacDonald

According to the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, which markets the Pennsylvania Convention Center, citywide conventions were at a peak of 27 in 2002. Since then 20 conventions were booked for 2013 and nine are scheduled for 2017. Many people in the industry blame this decrease in revenue for the city and the state on the years-long battle between what some perceive as unions’ outdated work rules and management. Four of the six unions, which have been working at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, have signed new agreements to updated work rules last week and returned to work this Monday. Relaxed rules allow exhibitors to do minor work on their booths including using a step latter and setting up their own computers. The Carpenters and Teamsters Unions have filed an unfair labor practice charge against the convention center management. And earlier this week the head of Electricians Union Local 98 crossed a picket line for the first time in his life, making history. First, we’ll talk to JOHN MCNICHOL President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority. And then, journalists TOM FERRICK of Axis Philly and WHYY’s TOM MACDONALD lay out the history of the unions and convention center.

Update: Also joining the conversation were RYAN BOYER, Business Manager of the Laborers District Council of Philadelphia and Vicinity, and WILLIAM HAMILTON, leader of Teamsters Local 107.

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