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Labor Battle Brewing At Pa. Convention Center

File photo: the main entrance of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, on North Broad Street at Cherry. (Credit: Randall E. Scott)

File photo: the main entrance of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, on North Broad Street at Cherry. (Credit: Randall E. Scott)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Union Carpenters and Teamsters signed a new agreement with the Convention Center Friday, but Center officials say it’s too late and their employment there will end after Saturday. The actions set the stage for a major battle at the Center on Monday.

Carpenters spokesman Martin O’Rourke says the union president hand-delivered a signed agreement to the Convention Center Authority.

“And the carpenters are ready to go to work on Monday,” says O’Rourke.

But Authority president John McNichol says the carpenters know very well the deadline for them to sign the agreement was Monday at midnight.

‘For them to feign ignorance on that at this juncture just doesn’t stand up at a reasonable expectation,” says McNichol.

McNichol says four unions signed before the deadline and, though teamsters and carpenters worked this week under a contract extension, they lost the option of signing on to continue working after the extension expires this weekend. He says the other four unions will take over the work currently done by teamsters and carpenters. That’s a dramatic rift in union solidarity in this labor town.

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