By Steve Tawa, Tim Jimenez

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After 16 hours, the strike at the Pennsylvania Convention Center is over.

Convention Center Board Chairman Gregory Fox released the following statement late Thursday night:

“This evening, Elliott-Lewis as the Labor Supplier for the Pennsylvania Convention Center and the Labor Unions agreed to 1 year collective bargaining agreement extensions,” said Gregory Fox, Chairman of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority’s Board of Directors.   “I am very optimistic about the dialogue between the center, SMG, and the Labor Unions that emerged during these negotiations.  I believe we all share the same goal of working cooperatively together to deliver our customers the best possible experience and make the center successful.”

“This agreement enables us to save the American Association of Diabetes Educators convention, which will have an estimated $22 million economic impact for our region,” said Fox.  “Organized labor has stated that they look forward to working with SMG as the Convention Center’s contracted management firm and ensuring the success of the center as an economic driver in the city and region.” 

“Building on the progress that has been made, SMG and union leadership have established a standing committee comprised of each respective Union’s principal to work together to ensure the Center accomplishes transparency and provides an excellent experience for its customers.”

Labor unions at the Pennsylvania Convention Center staged a walkout Thursday.

The carpenters’ union notified the Convention Center of its intention to go on strike in the midst of contract negotiations.

Convention Center board chairman Gregory Fox says his negotiators had offered a ten-year proposal that includes three-percent annual pay hikes but the carpenters’ union is resisting the work rule changes that Fox says are needed to make the center more competitive in the global convention and meeting industry.

In June, the center brought in SMG, one of the country’s most experienced venue management firms, to handle day-to-day operations (see related story).

Fox says addressing work rules was their next priority.  Two weeks ago, the head of the local carpenters’ union was appointed to the convention center board by the Pennsylvania state senate (see related story).

The carpenters’ union is the largest at the Convention Center. Four of six unions joined today’s walkout; a fifth was honoring picket lines but was not on strike.

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