SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Definition of a (Costly) Stalemate

This morning's Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Philadelphia cannot get union conventions because two of the major hotels near the Convention Center are nonunion.

What the Inquirer also has reported over time -- and something which I know to be true from personal experience -- is that the Convention Center loses even more business precisely because the union climate within the Convention Center is so restrictive and difficult to deal with that almost all exhibitors would rather go to another city (although there are times, I'm told, where the unions can be very difficult in Boston and New York). Ask anyone who's in charge of setting up an exhibit for his/her company at the Philadelphia Convention Center and they'll tell you endless tales of woe about getting different unions to cooperate, getting people to work on time and not drag out work into time and a half and doubletime situations, and a bunch of rules that seemingly -- to them -- are as much designed to frustrate the exhibitors as they are to guarantee more work for the unions (which, my guess is, that certain exhibitors would tolerate if the work were done well, on time, and without incident or attitude).

So, return to this morning's story. Unions won't come because of nonunion hotels, and conventioneers who aren't unions might not want to come because of the unions. All of which, really, is too bad, because Philadelphia has a lot to offer (including, among other things, the delicious eats that the Reading Terminal Market offers right across the street from the Convention Center, as a well as, of course, about a 10-minute walk to Independence Mall, where the democracy that gave rise to the rights that the unions, the exhibitors and this blogger all are free to exercise all began).

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