The Carpenters’ Company is hosting a symposium on the role of the construction industry in Philadelphia’s labor history.

This half-day event will feature academics, labor unions, historic sites and community partners engaging in dialogue concerning the history of work in Philadelphia.

The Fruits of Our Labor: Exploring the History of Work in Philadelphia
Date: Monday, May 2, 2022
Time: 12pm – 5pm
Location: Science History Institute, 315 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

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The Carpenters’ Company, housed at Carpenters’ Hall in Philadelphia, founded in 1724, is the oldest continually operating trade guild in the United States. Historically, The Company was responsible for setting building codes, labor standards and wages. Members of The Carpenters’ Company have led construction projects in Philadelphia for almost 300 years.

The purpose of Carpenters’ Hall and the history of The Carpenters’ Company alludes to a rich and complex history of labor. In one instance, a strike was agitated against The Company in 1791 when journeymen carpenters in Philadelphia formed worker cooperatives as a means to advocate for shorter working hours and better wages. In another instance, the Brick Layers Company (a precursor to the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers) used Carpenters’ Hall as a meeting space for decades. Likewise, the General Building Contractors Association was founded at Carpenters’ Hall in the late 19th century.