The Brief: Carpenters Tell Democrats to Steer Clear of Convention Center


1. The Philadelphia carpenters union is asking Democrats to stay away from the Pennsylvania Convention Center during the party’s national convention here next year.

The gist: Last year, four labor unions signed onto new work rules at the convention center by management’s deadline. The carpenters union was not one of them, and it has been locked out ever since.

A spokesman for the carpenters explained that union leader Ed Coryell’s letter to Democrats is an attempt to ask “our allies to stand with [us].” Pete Peterson, a spokesman for the convention center, countered that carpenters union leadership is growing “desperate” and “just saving some face.” He also said the convention center has already scheduled events as part of the Democratic National Convention.

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Adjunct Instructors Plan March Today at Temple

Adjunct faculty members from colleges and universities around the city plan to march today on Temple University campus, where adjunct instructors are attempting to unionize.

The adjuncts — who teach classes, but who aren’t on the tenure track that offers job protections and the likelihood of continued employment — want to collectively bargain pay and benefits with the university.

NewsWorks reports:
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Why Do Teachers Get Snow Days?


UPDATE: Philadelphia school teacher Steve Clark has written a response to this column

Hey school teachers, I have an idea.

Instead of fighting the School Reform Commission and campaigning for a friendly governor and organizing your efforts for a sympathetic mayor and protesting at City Council meetings and complaining about contributing more to your health insurance and your pensions let me suggest another tactic: How about you actually go to work?

Even when it snows. Read more »

Convention Center Got Restraining Order Against Carpenters Union

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Members of Philadelphia’s carpenter’s union have been protesting outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center for months. On Saturday, the laborers took their message inside the center — directly to attendees of the Philadelphia Auto Show.

On that much, both sides agree. After that, there’s plenty of disagreement.

John J. McNichol, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, alleges that the 200-some-odd union members who entered the auto show were “disruptive” — vandalizing cars on display and acting belligerently.

“Some of them tried to intimidate our exhibitors,” McNichol said Monday morning.

Martin O’Rourke, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Council of Carpenters, rejected accusations of damage or bad behavior, saying the carpenters spent their time at the show “peacefully” handing out leaflets.

“No vandalism, no vandalism whatsoever,” O’Rourke said. “They were exerting their First Amendment right to protest. “

One fact not in dispute: On Sunday, a judge signed a restraining order commanding the union not to interfere with the show. Both sides stipulated to the order, which can be seen below (the order is erroneously dated 2014 rather than 2015).

Despite the incident, McNichol said, Saturday saw 60,000 people attend the auto show — its No. 1 attendance day ever. “This was far and away the smoothest show we’ve had,” he said.

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Teamsters, Carpenters Lose Latest Bid to Return to Convention Center

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

The Teamsters and Carpenters unions have reportedly lost their latest bid to return to work at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

The two unions had filed an unfair labor practices complaint against the center, where they’ve been shut out since a coalition of other Philadelphia unions signed a work agreement last year. An official said Monday that a Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board had dismissed the complaint, NewsWorks reports.  The unions have 20 days to appeal to the full board, reports the Inquirer, pending a written report from the examiner who dismissed the complaint.

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State Examiner: City Can’t Just Change DROP

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Two initial decisions by a state hearing examiner have found that the city of Philadelphia violated the law when it made changes to the Deferred Retirement Option Plan three years ago.

Overriding a veto by Mayor Nutter, City Council voted unanimously in 2011 to reduce the cost of the retirement program by tweaking its eligibility requirements and changing the way the interest rate is calculated on workers’ DROP accounts. Nutter vetoed the legislation only because he didn’t think it went far enough: He wanted to nix DROP altogether.

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Is Yuengling Banned From Wolf’s Inauguration?

Tom Wolf

He hasn’t been inaugurated yet, but incoming Gov. Tom Wolf already has a scandal on his hands.

State Rep. Mike Vereb on Thursday appeared on Dom Giordano’s radio show and said that Yuengling beer is not being served at Wolf’s inaugurral events this weekend — probably as political payback for the company’s support for “right-to-work” laws opposed by labor unions.

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Why John Dougherty Won’t Get to Pick Our Next Mayor

Demonstrators protest ahead of Mayor Nutter's budget address at City Hall in March 2013. AP photo/Matt Rourke

Demonstrators protest ahead of Mayor Nutter’s budget address at City Hall in March 2013. AP photo/Matt Rourke

A year ago, it looked like labor unions might just pick Philadelphia’s next mayor.

Led by influential electricians union chief John Dougherty, labor leaders across Philadelphia hatched a plan: They would coalesce around one and only one candidate in 2015. In other words, they wouldn’t make the same mistake they made in 2007.

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