Meet the New Doc. Same as the Old Doc?

Photograph by Adam Jones

Photograph by Adam Jones

I’m searching for the good Johnny Doc, the one he wants me to find. The new one.

And here he is, in plain sight, on a cool, partly cloudy morning in early October, sitting quietly on a folding chair near the corner of 12th and Market streets in downtown Philadelphia.

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Bill Would Require “Labor Peace” at City-Subsidized Hotels

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Philadelphia’s hotel workers might decide to go on strike someday, but they won’t do it on the taxpayer dime if Councilman Wilson Goode Jr. has his way.

Goode last month introduced a bill (below) that requires hotels which receive support from City Hall — either by leasing public land to the project, or through financing assistance — to assure labor peace by having a collective bargaining agreement in place before the project receives approval. The agreement would have to include a “no strike” pledge on the part of the union representing the hotel’s workers.

Goode this week was careful to stress the bill wouldn’t affect hotels undertaken entirely as private projects.

“If there is no (city) financial interest, then it’s not a problem,” he said.

The bill comes at the end of a year in which the Pennsylvania Convention Center — subsidized by taxpayers — sought and got an agreement with most of the unions working at the center. That followed longtime complaints by the center’s leaders that unions were proving problematic in the task of luring and retaining big events to Philadelphia.

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Labor Leaders Contemplated Citywide Strike to Protest SRC

The School Reform Commission’s decision to unilaterally end its contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers nearly caused a shutdown of the entire city, the Inquirer reports this morning — labor leaders briefly contemplated a “general strike” that would have featured members of all area unions walking off the job to protest the decision.

They held off for two reasons: PFT president Jerry Jordan wanted to pursue legal action first. And members wanted to wait the outcome of the November 4th gubernatorial election.

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Uniforms Shouldn’t Trigger SEPTA Strike

Septa regional rail train

When I heard last week the reason SEPTA might shut down due to strike this winter — leaving tens of thousands of commuters stuck in the February cold — I was positively Iversonian in my response.

“Uniforms? We talkin’ about uniforms?”

Er, well yes apparently.

SEPTA’s regional rail electrical workers accepted the terms of federal mediation. Engineers want to settle, but are balking at two provisions: The effective date of wage increases, and uniform requirements.

SEPTA engineers want simply to wear a vest. “We feel a shirt and additional outerwear would be appropriate,” SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams told the paper.

That doesn’t sound like an excessive demand — and in reality, it’s not — but it turns out there’s a lot more to this battle than meets the eye. It’s been going on for years.

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