I ran into Michael Barnes, the head of Local 8 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees' union, at the Labor Day parade and talked to him a little bit about my story in the Philadelphia Inquirer this morning. The story makes the point that unions tend not to hold their big national meetings in Philadelphia because the Marriott hotel attached to the Pennsylvania Convention Center is a non-union hotel.
Barnes confirmed the idea when we spoke. His union meets once every four years. At its 2009 convention, it voted to go hold its next general convention in Boston because of Philadelphia's hotel situation. He said Philadelphia wasn't even considered for the convention, which brings in about 2,000 people for a several-day event.
But Barnes also illustrates the point that Tom Muldoon made. Muldoon heads Philadelphia's Convention and Visitors Bureau. He said that yes, the union business is a tough sell, but it is a small slice of the pie and getting smaller. Unions that used to hold meetings annually now meet less frequently. For example, the Communication Workers of America used to meet every year and just voted to meet every two years.
You can read my other Tuesday story (yes, I was busy) about the Labor Day parade and picnic by clicking here.