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Some Unions Agree to Relaxed Work Rules at Pa. Conventon Center

By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The Pennsylvania Convention Center has reached an agreement with four of its six unions on work rule changes it says will make the center more attractive.

The agreement allows exhibitors to do more for themselves.

Center president John McNichol says laborers, stagehands, electricians, and iron workers have signed on to the new "Customer Satisfaction Agreement."

Among other things, it doubles the size of booths in which exhibitors can use power tools and ladders, to 600 square feet.

McNichol says that for exhibitors, that's huge.

"They'll be able to make shows more profitable for themselves, and we'll be able to deliver shows at a greater economic benefit to all of our customers," he says.

And McNichol says that will mean more business for the convention center and thus more jobs for local workers in the convention and hospitality industries.

"It's about serving as an economic engine for the region," he said.  "That's the promise of the Convention Center."

Not everyone is convinced.  Unions representing carpenters and teamsters declined to sign on.  They're working on a contract extension that expires this Saturday.


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