Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Get Out of Town!

Haha. Brilliant.

PHILADELPHIA - This is the true story of "The Real World" and the city's powerful labor unions. The long-running MTV reality show found out what happens, to borrow its trademark slogan, when Philly people stop being polite and start getting real.

"The Real World" is gone only three weeks after it arrived, apparently because of a dispute over the show's use of nonunion laborers to work on the house where the seven "Real World" strangers were to be thrown together under the unblinking gaze of video cameras.

The city's builders and carpenters unions say the show's production company abruptly picked up and left without trying to negotiate.

"I've got kids looking at me like I killed Santa Claus," Pat Gillespie, president of the powerful Building Trades Council, said Wednesday. "Look, they come into our town and make a decision to avoid union workers. Whether they were prepared for what would happen, it was a conscious decision that they made."

For two weeks, members of the Teamsters, carpenters, electricians and painters unions picketed with signs and a giant inflatable rat. Union leaders said they tried to negotiate with the show's producers, Bunim/Murray Productions, as they've done successfully on projects from TV shows "Hack" and "Cold Case" to locally connected director M. Night Shyamalan's latest film "The Village."