Stop-work order lifted at nonunion work site

Posted: May 13, 2012

Construction workers are expected to be back on the job at the Goldtex Building near Center City Monday, after the city lifted a “stop-work” order it placed at the site more than a week ago.

Developers Matthew and Michael Pestronk met with the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections for nearly three hours Friday, Mike Pestronk said.

The stop-work order was lifted after the brothers presented the contracts, business-privilege licenses, contractors’ licenses and certificates of insurance for every subcontractor on the job at the abandoned textile factory building, at 12th and Wood streets.

But whether union protesters who say the Pestronks are threatening wage standards will return to protest isn’t clear. The Pestronks are using mostly nonunion labor.

Protesters may be there “if the spirit moves them,” said Pat Gillespie, business manager of the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council.

The Pestronks won a temporary injunction to keep protesters from blocking entrances to both the Goldtex Building in the Callowhill neighborhood and Rittenhouse Hill, an apartment complex they’re developing in Germantown. The company is also suing the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council, alleging that union members attempted to intimidate workers and Matt Pestronk’s family.

Gillespie repeated assertions that the Pestronks are being greedy by hiring nonunion workers and “hiring people off the street and calling them contractors” to avoid city, state and federal employer tax requirements.

Maura Kennedy, a spokeswoman for L&I, said the city shut them down on May 3 because a number of subcontractors didn’t have proper permits and licenses. n

Contact Valerie Russ at 215-854-5987 or russv@phillynews.com.

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