Call today: 866-511-1719

Motor City Does What Chi Town Does Not (at least not yet)

Detroit’s Cobo Center and Unions Form New Streamlined, Cost-Efficient Labor Agreement

After two years of negotiations, Detroit’s Cobo Center and five unions working in the building have formed a new labor agreement that streamlines services and makes costs more predictable, according to venue officials. They stated, “This is a significant step forward to clarify and maintain exhibitor rights, and make our operations more efficient and competitive.”

Here are a few highlights of the new agreement:

  • Exhibitors could save up to 33 percent on material handling labor
  • Overtime adjustment: new rules extend first eight hours straight time from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.; previously overtime began after 3 p.m.
  • Exhibitors may carry exhibit materials into and out of exhibit halls if motorized equipment is not needed
  • Greater leeway for exhibitors setting up their own booth

The Cobo Center is also in the midst of a $279 million capital improvement program, with a 40,000 square foot ballroom, 25,000 square feet of meeting rooms and a 30,000 square foot atrium opening this summer.



Meanwhile, on the other side of Lake Michigan…

Longest Strike Ever Ends Without Resolving Anything

A ten-year strike at the Congress Plaza hotel in downtown Chicago – believed to be the longest hotel strike in the world – has ended. Unite Here Local 1, the union representing cleaning and maintenance workers, has offered an unconditional return to work.

The next step is still in question. Many of the 130 workers that originally went on strike have found new jobs or crossed the picket line and returned to work at Congress Plaza. If any strikers choose to come back to Congress as part of the “unconditional” return, terms call for them to be paid the same as they were more than a decade ago.

When the strike started, the standard wage for room attendants was $8.83 per hour, a wage contract workers still make. According to Unite Here Local 1 President Henry Tamarin, the citywide standard for room attendants is now $16.40 an hour.



In recent blogs, we’ve discussed the seemingly omnipresent negotiations in Chicago between “McPier” (and whatever powers may be) and the unions. The achievements seem to go in fits and starts, arguably due at least in part to the history of union relations. Maybe the parties responsible for the Detroit negotiations should offer their services to Chicago in a similar capacity so we can resolve things once and for all.

But in all fairness to Chicago, plenty of other cities have these sorts of problems… The point is, they CAN BE resolved!

Regardless of where you are exhibiting, you can avoid many fees inside the exhibit hall (drayage, labor) by using a portable display from Tradeshows And Displays and setting it up yourself. At most venues, if you can bring it in under your own power and set it up without tools in a short period of time, then you don’t need labor. Sweet deal. But, if a portable display just won’t do, Tradeshows And Displays Inc. also creates modular displays, which require less freight, drayage and labor than bulkier custom displays. Just give us a call! 866-511-1719.


What are your thoughts on this? We’d like to hear your comments!

Call or e-mail us for information on our products!


Since 1989


Helping Exhibitors With

Tradeshow Preparedness

One Booth At a Time…



tradeshow tips

tradeshow displays


About Joan Weis