The Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council, while not wholly opposed to Occupy Philly’s message, is asking the group to move so work on the planned Dilworth Plaza renovation can begin.
“We are asking Occupy Philly to change venues,” said business manager Pat Gillespie. “We’re even offering to help them move their equipment, if necessary.”
Some unions that fall under the Building Trades umbrella have independently supported Occupy Philly, but the Council has never issued an official position on the movement.
“It’s kind of a dilemma because if the message that folks are articulating in Occupy Philly and Wall Street and Occupy all the other venues in the country is for fairness, then we’re all for that,” Gillespie said. “Even if it’s for redistribution of wealth, apparently that should be a matter for discussion. We subscribe to that wholeheartedly as far as fairness and don’t want to be opposed to anyone exercising their rights.”
“But the same sentiment can be articulated just as effectively right across the street or wherever they decide and allow us to get our work done at Dilworth Plaza.”
Though mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald said yesterday that many logistical preparations still needed to be addressed before construction could begin, Gillespie said workers need access to the Plaza in order for that preliminary work to start.
“The pre-construction surveying and development that has to go on that site can start now. We can put people to work today,” he said. “When job opportunities come, as rare as they are, we want to make sure we can take advantage of them. Basically, the message is: the sooner they move, the quicker we get to work.”