Head of Philadelphia carpenters union out amid merger

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The longtime head of the Philadelphia carpenters union is on the outs, amid a major reshuffling of unions throughout the Northeast United States. (WPVI)

The longtime head of the Philadelphia carpenters union is on the outs, amid a major reshuffling of unions throughout the Northeast United States.

Edward Coryell Sr., who led the Philadelphia local chapter for 40 years, is no longer in charge.

Signs were posted Thursday announcing the shutdown and disbanding of all Philadelphia carpenter locals as well as the dismantling of the umbrella Carpenters Metropolitan Council.

Union officials entering and exiting Thursday confirmed they were from New Jersey, but little else.

According to a web statement, most Philadelphia-based carpenters are being transferred to locals that will be part of an Edison, New Jersey, based regional council.

The union says the driving force behind the consolidation is reducing costs and maximizing available resources.

The move creates a unified bargaining group of 40,000 carpenters at a time when work in the building trades is brisk.

Mark Durkalec of Quakertown tells us he is optimistic.

"I think it leaves us in a stronger position. It makes the whole carpenters union stronger," said Durkalec. "It's going to deal with getting better rates on things insurance ... from A-Z."

The Carpenters under Coryell and his son, Edward Jr., have been embroiled in a messy public debate with the Convention Center. By failing to sign on to a 2014 offer other unions embraced, the Carpenters have been shut out of convention work.

When asked if the Metropolitan Council's closing reflected a lack of confidence in local leaders, a union spokesperson pointed to a statement saying the closing was part of an ongoing 20-year trend of consolidation.

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