Fat. White. And Outta Work.
Fat. White. And Outta Work.

Well, the new work rules are in effect and were put to the test yesterday.  While tearing down the BIO conference, all the displays were crated and ready to be picked up at the loading docks 3 hours before schedule according to the Inky.

It gets better.   Carpenters Local 8 is now using the Ironworkers local to beg to come back.  In a message delivered to PCC management, the Ironworkers said:

It’s time for the Board to act quickly and accept the signed agreements and welcome our fellow union brothers and sisters back into the Convention Center – and end this disharmony which has the potential to undue so much good.

The head of the Ironworkers Local 401 union who sent the message is currently New Jersey Democrat Stephen Sweeney, who quickly stepped into the position thanks to the FBI charging ten “T.H.U.G.S.” of the Ironworkers local with racketeering.

Will Sweeney have any real say in getting the rest of the unions who signed the agreement to suddenly walk?   Well… IBEW Local 98 is not going to walk out because its business manager John Dougherty said what’s been known across the entire galaxy:

“Everybody knows that for the past 10 years, there has only been one problem at the Convention Center, and that’s the Carpenters.”

On top of this, Laborer’s District Council just suddenly picked up a ton more work to do–basically the lion’s share of all the work that the Carpenters had been assigned.  Would they want to give all that work up?  Not bloody likely.

LDC workers are majority non-white and most of them are Philadelphians who live here in the city, unlike the Carpenters.   It’s unfortunate that no self-ascribed minority leaders are willing to utter a peep in defense of the LDC to keep the work; given that the LDC more accurately reflects Philadelphia’s demographics and has more local workers than the Carpenters which is very majority white and mostly lives in suburbia.   But… I hear a deafening silence from this group over this labor issue.  Oh well.

The Carpenters being allowed inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center is done.  It’s over, and they’re never coming back–ever.   With all the money that has been lost over the years due to convention planners skipping Philly; the cost to fight any NLRB ruling that attempts to crowbar the Carpenters back into the building will be worth the Federal court appeals.   So long as the Carpenters are gone, life will be very-much improved at the PCC.

And that is how it should be.   Get lost, Ed Coryell.  Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

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Welp, it’s Saturday and it’s now over for Ed Coryell Sr., the figurehead of the Carpenters union Local 8.

Fat. White. And Outta Work.
Fat. White. And Outta Work.

Carpenters Local 8, which is responsible for most of the labor pains at the Pennsylvania Convention Center over the past decade, have been locked out and their jobs reassigned to the other four unions who signed the new work rules that cover the building.

The carpenters even reached out to Congressman Bob Brady, hoping his swagger as head of the Democratic City Committee would hold some say, but Philly.com reports that PCC management wouldn’t even return his calls.

Work rules have been the key issue since before the PCC was expanded.  The most notorious of course is that conventioneers are not permitted to use things like battery-operated tools anywhere inside the building.  Tech-based conventions long fled the PCC over the rules about plugging in laptops and servers into electrical outlets.  Ever seen Microsoft hold a convention in town?  They used to, long ago.

Then there’s the price tag.  Large conventions and shows at the PCC run so high that is costs the same to hold conventions in premier cities (Philly is not a premier city to hold a convention in).  The Javits Center in New York  has long sucked-away shows that would have come to Philly in search of an East Coast audience.  At the end of the day when the price is the same–what do you do?  Do you pick Philly where labor hassles are high and so are the bills, or do you go to Manhattan where the bills run about the same but at least there’s three giant airports offering non-stop direct flights to everywhere on the planet, and much more hotel space?

Push has come to shove and convention planners passing over Philly has taken its toll.   Convention Center revenue which was projected to be $510MM will plummet to $230MM by 2016 if the dismal number of trade show bookings keeps falling.

Pennsylvania taxpayers are on the hook for well over a billion dollars in debt used to finance the PCC’s expansion.  The cash simply won’t be coming in the door to feed an army of hoagiemouths much less make good on the investment the Commonwealth put into it.   Convention planners constantly point to the work rules being the primary reason why they will never come back to Philly.

And today, hope has finally arrived that this might get fixed. I really can’t sympathize much with Local 8.   They get a bad rap from the other building trades.  IBEW Local 98 guys have told me in the past how nutty they are about striking… and IBEW 98 is well-known for being a very striky union.

So a lock-out by the PCC’s managers seems like a good idea.  All of the work that Local 8 does at the center translates very well to the Laborer’s Union, which has the cheapest bill rate at the PCC.

As a bonus:  Out of all of Philadelphia’s unions, the Laborer’s Union is the most diverse and also the most Philadelphian of all of the building trades.   What will be Local 8’s loss will be Local 57’s gain.

To the carpenters about to be laid up on Monday:  enjoy putting up wood framing outdoors next January.  Thank Ed Coryell Sr. for not getting you a contract.

Sandwich boards and stuffing hoagies down the mouth today
Sandwich boards and stuffing hoagies down the mouth today

Given all the rat shit over the Pennsylvania Convention Center as of late, it’s kinda fun to see the Marriott is now hosting the rat that we all foresaw would magically scurry back towards the PCC in expectation that this bullshit over the Carpenter’s local and its secretary-treasurer Ed Coryell Sr., who is widely-known in trade-circles and among targets of Coryell’s derision as a pompous blow-hard, to not sign the work rules that 4 out of the 6 unions who work the PCC floors have already signed, and blow this up in a shitshow that only Philly building trades only know how (see: GoldTex).