By Holly Otterbein (Newsworks/WHYY)
It’s a hot August day, and construction workers in Center City are marching with protest signs that read “End the Lockout” and “Shame on You.” Alongside them is an inflatable fat cat whose paw is wrapped around the neck of a blown-up carpenter.
The Carpenters Local 8 has been picketing outside of the Pennsylvania Convention Center in downtown Philadelphia for months over the loss of their jobs. In May, more than 100 carpenters as well as nearly 20 members of the Teamsters Local 107 lost their jobs at the site when they missed the Convention Center management’s deadline to sign onto new work rules.
“A good number of our members are now unemployed, looking for jobs,” said Martin O’Rourke, a spokesman for the Carpenters union. “It’s just this ongoing disruption to their lives as well as to the city of Philadelphia.”
Four other labor unions, including the electricians and the stagehands, signed the deal in time and have crossed a picket line to keep working.
How could this happen in such a traditionally pro-labor city?