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PHILADELPHIA-The Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority board of directors has adopted a new, 10-year, customer-satisfaction agreement covering show labor provided by all the key parties involved in staging events at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.All of the 20 key parties except for the carpenter’s union, that is.

And without the carpenters, who make up more than half of the workforce at the center, the new deal has a hollow ring to it.

The convention board says the agreement is designed to achieve the permanent, customer-focused, show labor reform and customer satisfaction goals it set earlier this year to make the Center the more customer-friendly, cost efficient and productive. But labor officials fear that their members would lose considerable overtime pay, and could cost them jobs by allowing exhibitors much more flexibility in setting up and taking down their exhibits.

“We are now one signature away from creating a national model in which show labor is stream lined and simplified so it can be performed at the highest level of efficiency, productivity and quality at the lowest reasonable cost,” says convention authority chairman Dr. Bernard C. Watson in a statement.

Watson encourages the Metropolitan Regional Council of Philadelphia and Vicinity United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America to approve an agreement that would “help save hundreds of jobs and create thousands more through improving current operations and paving the way for expansion.”

The authority plans to go before the Pennsylvania Legislature this fall to ask for about half of the funding needed for a proposed $464-million expansion.

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