McCormick Place Deal Keeps Labor Reforms Intact

The recent announcement by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn means conferences will keep coming to Chicago while costing exhibitors less.

New work rules enacted in 2010 to make Chicago's McCormick Place more attractive to conventions and conferences will remain in place under settlement agreements announced recently by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. The Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters and Teamsters Local 727, two unions whose members work at the facility, agreed to end their federal lawsuits challenging some of the reforms, the mayor's office announced.

"McCormick Place is a major economic engine for the City of Chicago, bringing more than 3 million visitors to the city every year," Emanuel said. "I am grateful that labor is our partner in implementing these reforms that will keep thousands of Chicagoans working, save exhibitors money, and ensure our city remains a competitive destination and leader in the convention and trade show industry."

"McCormick Place is a cornerstone of Illinois' economy, and we weren't going to stop working with our labor partners until we delivered the reforms needed to bring more shows and jobs to our state," Quinn added. "These historic reforms will save exhibitors money by giving them the flexibility they need and help to attract even more shows to Illinois, while making sure the many hard-working men and women who support McCormick Place stay on the job."

The agrements retain the major reforms: an Exhibitors' Bill of Rights allows show managers and exhibitors to perform their own work in a booth of any size, using their own ladders or hand tools, cordless tools, and power tools. Exhibitors will be allowed to operate, load, and unload their own vehicles at McCormick Place, and work can be done by two-person work crews instead of the three-person crews required prior to the reforms. Reduced parking rates, lower food and beverage prices, enhanced menu options, and free Wi-Fi access also are retained by the agreements. Show organizers will be allowed to choose electrical service providers from a list of approved vendors.

"Throughout this process, our goal has been to ensure that McCormick Place continues to set the standard for convention excellence," said Frank Libby, president of the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters. "This agreement will help our members stay on the job and keep Chicago's trade show industry healthy for years to come."

According to the mayor's office, McCormick Place supports 66,000 jobs and generates $8 billion in annual spending.

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