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    "The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people."
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    :: Wednesday, May 03, 2006 ::

    Tentative settlements in carpenters' strike - by Athena Merritt, Philadelphia Business Journal
    Thousands of union members will return to job sites Wednesday as a result of the agreements that were reached by 1 p.m. after a morning of phone calls and an 11 a.m meeting, Walter Palmer 3rd, president and CEO of GBCA, said. Palmer estimated the number of union members at more than 5,000.
    "There were pickets out today, but most job sites were working," Palmer said. "The job sites were somewhat chaotic -- who was working and who was not -- but just about every site was up and running."

    Under the tentative agreements, city union carpenters will receive an increase of $3.25 per hour in the first year, $3.30 per hour in the second year and $3.35 in the third year to their current hourly rate of $31.75. On top of that, they will receive $16 an hour, the same figure as under the old contract, toward health, pension, welfare and other funds, Palmer said. Suburban union carpenters will receive an increase of $2.65 per hour in each of the three years, he said.
    'Chaotic' scene as carpenters walk - By DAVE DAVIES, Philadelphia Daily News
    About 5,000 unionized carpenters walked off the job yesterday, disrupting work at construction sites throughout the Philadelphia area. The carpenters' labor agreement expired at midnight Sunday.

    The two sides negotiated for about five hours yesterday in what General Building Contractors Association president Walter Palmer called 'a very positive day of bargaining.'

    Palmer said that wage proposals remain on the table and that the two sides will meet again 'very soon.'

    Palmer described the impact of the strike as 'very chaotic throughout the industry.'

    'In some places it seemed other trades honored the carpenters' picket lines, and on other projects they did not,' Palmer said. 'There didn't seem to be any uniformity from job site to job site.'
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