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The Therapy Sessions
Thursday, July 10, 2003

Union Blues

Philadelphia is a city where every worker has a silly union, and every silly union has a dumb grievance. It makes Philly the lovable shithole it is, and it is one of the primary reasons that most “Philadelphians” actually live in the suburbs.

When a union-approved stage frame collapsed and nearly killed Sandra Day O’Connor at the Constitution Center, the union was quick to say that shoddy workmanship was not involved.


They approved the stage, but now they are quick to play the blame game. First they blame the drillers’ union (Yes, there probably is such a thing in Philly):

Barnes said that stagehands reported there were no pre-drilled holes in the base plates anchoring the frames.

And they blame the designers:

"No stagehands missed anything," Local 8 business manager Michael Barnes said during a news conference at Penn's Landing as the band Lynyrd Skynyrd did sound checks on a stage behind him. "There were no blueprints on site, no sharing of blueprints."

In the process of blaming everyone else, they denigrate themselves: are these professionals so clueless that they don’t KNOW that a six hundred pound frame needs support? They need designers (designers!) to tell them how to do their jobs (the job of securing the huge plank of wood)?

They make themselves sound no better than the UNSKILLED labor they always denounce in the suburbs (the Mexican immigrants who build everything in the suburbs, cheaply and efficiently).These are the very people that have slaughtered the golden cow in Philadelphia: the Convention Center. Unions muscled their way in and took over everything, annoying the hell out of any poor trade convention that happened to think Philly would be a swell place to visit. The result? The Convention Center is now a dormant shell.

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