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PHILADELPHIA-The Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority’s request for $232 million, half the projected cost of doubling the size of the current Downtown Philadelphia facility, was absent from a list of construction projects around the state that came up for vote in a state capital budget bill. The center’s expansion efforts have been thwarted by myriad problems, including a chief executive who was forced to resign before he took office, the unseating of two board members, and failure to develop consolidated work rules among the six labor unions that serve the center.

Meanwhile, Edward Coryell is re-elected president of the carpenters’ union, the only one of six unions that has refused to sign an agreement to amend and modify work rules at the center. Coryell has resisted pressure to join the other unions in consolidating work crews, charging the new proposal would cost his members jobs.

Consolidation of the six unions into three along with new work rules are seen as critical, not only to obtaining state funding, but also to ridding the center of exhibitors’ complaints about labor charges.

Bernard Watson, chairman of the convention center authority, expressed disappointment in the legislature’s failure to address the authority’s funding request in a statement, saying the agency remains committed to reforms and securing funding.

January 2003 is the earliest the state legislature can take up the issue of funding.

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