Recently read: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he’s concerned by the Car Care World Expo’s decision not to come to McCormick Place; the new mayor pledged to be aggressive in trying to keep costs down at the lakefront convention center. Those of us in the tradeshow industry know that Emanuel is in for a rough road.
It all centers on the “reforms” supposedly instituted in August 2010, as the result of a handful of major shows pulling out of McCormick Place citing the high costs. The reforms that were designed to keep prices (including electrical hookups and other services) fair and manageable for the exhibitors are being fought in federal court. So, while the city had managed to secure some other major shows after the reforms were announced, now exhibitors are getting wary again.
The mayor called the piece of legislation containing the reforms “a good agreement for the convention business to stay competitive in the city.” A ruling made in federal court invalidated the labor changes, which prompted the Car Care to back out. So, the labor reforms are uncertain at best.
Meanwhile, trade associations and exhibitors likely will pay more for electrical services under agreements that keep McCormick Place electricians on the job but allow two private contractors to mark up the cost of the electricians’ work (seen on Crain’s web site). And with the final ruling of U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman still pending, six major tradeshows have filed statements in court stating that a rollback on the labor reforms could lead to an exodus.
We at Tradeshows And Displays shake our heads at the shortsightedness of the unions servicing McCormick Place. I mean, really. We all want to make a profit in our business, but come on. Fighting the reforms is leading to a drop in business… which means less profit… which means they are hurting their own business. [Insert cliche here!] Of course, this trickles down to the rest of us who work in the tradeshow Chicagoland industry, hurting our businesses as well.
So, as most of America still struggles to do business in a shrunken economy, those doing well want to do even better at our expense. Let’s all quit screwing around and get back to business!
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