It's been a long, hard fight at the building site of the former Goldtex factory. Developers Michael and Matthew Pestronk, also known as the Post Bros., raised the ire of the building trade unions after the brothers failed to guarantee an all-union construction staff. Though the Pestronks were willing to use union labor, they also wanted the option of using non-union workers, which wasn't to the union's liking. So the Pestronks did something virtually unheard of in Philadelphia: They went ahead without the unions.
This caused enormous upset and embarrassing, thuggish behavior by union protesters. The site has come to represent the essential tensions between building trade unions and developers in Philadelphia, begging some fairly important questions that city politicians, for one, are afraid to ask lest they lose the support of organized labor.
Now Ryan Briggs reports that the Goldtex battle may be over, though no agreement has been signed:
"[The union] approached us and said that if we made our next development, at Broad and Spruce, 100 percent union that they would back off us at Goldtex," said Pestronk. He claims that Post Brothers countered by saying that they could not guarantee that the next development would be 100 percent union, as it has not yet gone to bid. However, they indicated that they would be open to hiring union workers and even "paying a premium for their services," both at their future site and at Goldtex, if their rates were competitive. From the Pestronks' point of view, nothing has changed: They've long advocated a mixed workplace (union and non-union labor) and they still do; the only difference is that the union is finally willing to work in such an environment if they get paid a higher rate. It will be very interesting to see if this handshake promise holds.