A Philadelphia Story: Developer Brothers Beat the Unions

Jan 18, 2013

Photo: Steve Pavone for Shutterstock

This post originally appeared on the Workforce Freedom Initiative’s blog

A recent Philadelphia Magazine article tells an interesting tale about a rare victory over the entrenched labor unions that have dominated the City of Brotherly Love for decades.  The article (which gentle readers should note contains some crude language) explains the long saga of two young developers’ quest to build a $38 million apartment complex at the old Goldtex factory in downtown Philadelphia using a mix of union and non-union labor. 

Using non-union labor for construction in Philadelphia is nearly unheard of, and the project prompted a battle royale with the Building and Construction Trades Council that dominates the industry there.  The developers, Matt and Mike Pestronk, took on the unions — whose well-worn tactics allegedly included intimidation, threats, protests, and even stalking — and turned public opinion by exposing labor’s antics for all the world to see. 

In 2012, the Workforce Freedom Initiative published “Sabotage, Stalking & Stealth Exemptions: Special State Laws for Labor Unions,” which highlighted some of the objectionable behavior unions employ to get what they want, and we even pointed out Pennsylvania’s specific exemption for labor unions in its stalking and harassment laws.  We read the Philadelphia Magazine article with considerable interest as it tells the story of how such malignant behavior might finally be put in check.  

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