Philadelphia Unions Quarrel Over New Convention Center Work Rules

A spokesman for Local 8, the carpenters union, bashed Local 98 business manager John Dougherty for crossing a picket line.

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

While the day was subdued inside the Convention Center Monday, tensions between unions “erupted” outside, the Inquirer reports. The fracas started when leaders of IBEW Local 98, Laborers Local 332 and Stagehands Local 8 walked their workers into the Convention Center past a group of jeering Teamsters.

The dispute stems from new work rules at the Center, which told unions they had until Monday of last week to sign. Carpenters Local 8 and the Teamsters Local 107, didn’t, and are currently shut out of the process.


Teamsters picketed outside the Convention Center on Monday, leading to the Inquirer getting some fantastic quotes for the newspaper. Check out the war of words between IBEW Local 98 business manager John Dougherty and people from the Teamsters and Carpenters unions.

  • William Hamilton, Leader of Teamsters Local 107: "Johnny Doc might be a Philadelphia legend in his own mind, but he's an embarrassment."
  • Dougherty: "I was there today because I knew they were going to try to embarrass people. It was all because Billy Hamilton knows he made a mistake."
  • Carpenters spokesman Martin O'Rourke accused Dougherty of crossing a picket line: "Ed Coryell did not cross a picket line." Coryell is Local 8's executive secretary and treasurer.
  • Dougherty, again: "Everybody knows that for the past 10 years, there has only been one problem at the Convention Center, and that's the Carpenters."
  • It wasn't limited to quotes in the Inquirer! Hamilton told Action News: "I believe it's reprehensible that John Dougherty would show up in a picket line today and cross a union picket line. I think it sets the union movement in Philadelphia back a hundred years."

Juicy quotes! Dougherty told Newsworks's Tom MacDonald this was the first time he'd ever crossed a picket line. Doc accused Hamilton of "'talking tough' while staying in Las Vegas instead of negotiating in Philadelphia." The Convention Center says it has no plans to reopen talks with the Teamsters or Carpenters unions.

Incidentally: Michael Barnes, the head of the Stagehands, told the Inquirer the new rules at the Convention Center were "a lot simpler, a lot easier, and a lot more efficient."

[Inquirer | Newsworks]

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • Jonathan Mandoza

    I see your strongly worded blurb about commenting has worked. Now nobody wants to comment on a damn thing. Excellent work! Feel free to edit and publish this comment throughout all media worldwide bozos.

  • YogiBear

    Unions were originally formed for protect workers rights. Now all they do is abuse those rights, and destroy companies and everything else they lay their hands on

    • George

      U have a valid point but there are many companies we are trying to save by giving numerous concessions such as roadway etc.we know the world has changed and we appreciate our jobs a lot more.all the teamster guys at the center wanted was to insure that their pension plan would be honored.and the carpenters were concerned that the new rules meant less jobs for them because they would allow the benders to do most of the work that in the past was reserved for them

      • UnionWorker

        The Carpenters quite frankly as asses! There were 6 unions down at the Convention Center, the shows were not coming in mainly because of one union-The Carpenters. For years they have bullied their way and refused to do anything to help the success of the Center. Unions want successful businesses so people can keep working. All that was asked was for them to make a small concession to help the business, and those stingy cheap asses refused and wanted to drag the other unions into their foolish fight.
        We the other unions didn’t go for it, except the dummy Teamsters! So the new work rules are good for business, there is a 3% increase in pay for the participating Unions so its a good deal. The Carpenters and Teamsters are dumb and their members should fire their leadership for blowing the work.

    • Robert Gremmel III

      You need to do a little bit more research about Philly Unions. We stand and fight for everyone’s right to a fair wage and safe work environment, not just our own. There’s many things that we do that nobody even knows. Get your facts straight. “GLAZIERS LOCAL 252″

      • YogiBear

        I don’t have to do research, I worked in a union plant environment for over a decade and I know exactly how they operate. My facts are extremely straight.

  • Handyman

    Things like this will continue to happen as long as Coryell Jr is riding high at the carpenters union. Its no surprise the deadline was stubbornly missed. Its a shame that he has bullied his way to top spot in center city.