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]