Two competing contractors would both be paid to do electrical work on a new, $140 million Family Court building under a tentative deal that would allow construction to go forward - but now with union labor.

John J. Dougherty, business manager of Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, said Friday that he had come to terms with the owners of the Farfield Co., a nonunion Lancaster County firm that won the state bid for electrical work on the courthouse at 15th and Arch Streets.

Farfield won with a $22.4 million bid even though a union company, the Gordon Group of Feasterville, had bid $300,000 lower.

The state Department of General Services said it picked Farfield because the company was better qualified, particularly in handling energy-efficient construction.

Now, though, the Gordon Group apparently will do the work anyway - as a subcontractor for Farfield.

Farfield will earn a profit from supplying materials for the job, according to sources familiar with the negotiations. The details were not released.

"The end product will be a landmark new building in Philadelphia of which we can all be proud," Dougherty said in a statement.

The deal was worked out in several days of talks among Dougherty; Farfield president Dennis Pierce; developer Daniel Keating, the general contractor for the job; and Pat Gillespie, head of the Building Trades Council, according to knowledgeable sources.

U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, also head of the city Democratic Party, called the meeting and helped broker the arrangement.

The agreement will not be implemented unless it is approved by General Services. Liz O'Reilly, a deputy secretary who is overseeing the project, declined comment Friday.

The politically influential Dougherty, outraged that a nonunion contractor would get the work, and for a higher price, used his muscle to stall the project for several weeks. For Dougherty, the fight was personal: His brother, Kevin, is the judge in charge of Family Court.

John Dougherty and other members of city trade unions would stand at the gate to the downtown site each morning, pressuring other union contractors to stay away. They did.

The informal picket line ended when talks began this week, and excavation work began.

The union dispute was the latest holdup for the Family Court project.

A no-bid version of the deal was nearly ready to go last year with a price tag of $200 million, but then-Gov. Ed Rendell canceled it after The Inquirer reported in May 2010 that a lawyer hired to represent the courts was also sharing in the development fees.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille, who had signed off on $12 million in fees for the earlier busted deal, had been eager to hold a groundbreaking once the state signed the contracts this year. But the ceremony was put on hold while the labor battle went on.