By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Pennsylvania Convention Center’s new agreement with its unions gets a critical test this week, as the Infectious Diseases Society of America meets in Philadelphia.

The meeting is a rare and important second visit, which means planners will be able to compare costs before and after the customer satisfaction agreement signed in May, which simplifies work rules.

Convention Center General Manager Lorenz Hassenstein says he thinks the Society will see improvement since its last meeting here in 2009.

“The temperament and the mood on the floor as the event builds and breaks down is much better,” Hassenstein says. “The work flow and the process of how the work gets done is much clear and more efficient. People are friendlier. Exhibitors will have a much better experience and I think overall things will run smoother than they did in the past.”

Hassenstein says a good word from the Society could help get more return business, which was the point of the agreement. It came at a price to carpenters and teamsters who got shut out of the deal by not signing in time.

They continue to protest outside the Center weekly.

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