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Cleanup at Deadly Center City Building Collapse Site Set To Resume After Union Tiff

(Building collapse in center city Philadelphia on June 5, 2013. File photo by Jonathan Hudson)

(Building collapse in center city Philadelphia on June 5, 2013. File photo by Jonathan Hudson)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A union protest temporarily halted the painstaking work of cleaning up the site of the Salvation Army thrift store that collapsed during a botched demolition earlier this month.

The scene at 22nd and Market Streets, where six people died when a wall toppled onto the thrift store, is no scoop-and-dump operation.  Tom O’Grady, of Mellon Certified Restoration, explains the kind of care that is going  into this cleanup:

“We’ve been asked to try to account for personal property in addition to removing the debris,” he tells KYW Newsradio, “and because it’s a crime scene we’re working with the police crime scene unit to try to find items that may be of interest to them.  So it’s a very selective picking and sifting through the debris.”

Work began Monday, but the Philadelphia laborers’ union went to the scene, complaining that the subcontractor, although using union labor, had brought in workers from another jurisdiction.

O’Grady says that out of respect for the tragedy that occurred there, work was suspended while the dispute was resolved.

Work is expected to resume tomorrow, using specialized crews from the steelworkers’ and operating engineers’ unions.

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