Chicago recently passed labor reforms in terms of exhibitions and trade shows, and the city is already experiencing its benefits.
Solar Power International will be holding its annual trade show in Chicago in 2013 and 2015, and according to show officials, the event will have a $40 million impact on the Chicagoland economy for both years. SPI expects 27,000 people to attend for each.
“Throughout the process we said that the labor rules must be changed so McCormick Place could be the No. 1 destination in the world for the convention and trade show industry,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. “This is proof of that.”
The annual expo was in Dallas this year, and will be held in Orlando in 2012 and Las Vegas in 2014. Before this year’s show in Texas, the Solar Power International convention was traditionally held in California.
“We are thrilled that Solar Power International will be coming to Chicago,” said MPEA Trustee Jim Reilly in a statement. “There is no doubt that the recent work rule reforms had a clear impact on Solar’s decision to make Chicago their home and we anticipate others will follow.”
Also, Blackstone, the largest commercial real estate investor in the country, will spend $125 million in capital improvements on three Chicago hotels – Hilton Chicago, Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport and Wyndham Chicago.
Big news about McCormick Place, conventions and trade shows was made this morning. According to Crain’s, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn announced agreements with two McCormick Place labor groups that will preserve work rule changes.
Under the agreements with the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters and Teamsters Local 727, several reforms will be solidified on November 1, 2011.
Among the new rules, managers and exhibitors can do their own work in any size booth, using their own ladders and tools; Key Expanded Straight-time (Monday through Friday) is restored, and provisions reduce double-time pay for several major holidays; exhibitors can operate, load and unload their own vehicles at the McCormick Place docks; and two-person crews can work at McCormick Place, rather than three-person crews that were previously required.
The new agreement also had some items survive from its June 2010 genesis, such as reforms to significantly lower food prices and the ability for exhibitors to choose their own electrical service provider.
These changes are not only expected to drive down costs, but also save customers money and provide more options for businesses.
The drive to get a deal done was spurred on by the threats that several big trade shows and conventions were going to leave Chicago for rival host cities. After today, though, Chicago will remain a top-notch convention city, with a bright future.
“We made changes last year in direct response to what our customers demanded,” Jim Reilly, trustee of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, said in a statement picked up by Crain’s. “Now, working in partnership with labor, we have overcome some of the biggest obstacles to our efforts to lure new shows to the city.”
The National Restaurant Association (NRA) announced Tuesday that its 2012 National Restaurant Association Hotel-Motel Show, which was originally slated for May 19-22 at Chicago’s McCormick Place, has now been moved to May 5-8 at the same location.
President and CEO of NRA, Dawn Sweeney, said the change was made to avoid any overlap with the Global G8 and NATO Summit that will also be taking place in Chicago from May 15-22 and will “significantly restrict movement” within the city.
“After carefully considering a number of options, we’ve come to the conclusion that keeping the 2012 NRA Show in Chicago but moving it to earlier in May will provide the best opportunity for our industry to have a productive and enjoyable 2012 Show,” Sweeney said.
A similar move will also take place for the International Wine, Spirits and Beer Event. Additionally located at McCormick Place, this event will be moved up to May 6-7, 2012.
The NRA Show attracts close to 60,000 foodservice professionals and brings approximately $100 million and more than 60,000 jobs to the city to support the show. Chicago has been home to the NRA Show for the past 61 years and is scheduled to remain the designated location through 2016.
Well, it seems as though the gambles were correct. Amidst the controversial decisions regarding labor and contractors at McCormick Place, business is bouncing back.
This week, the Chicago Sun Times reported that six major trade shows have recommitted to McCormick Place, and three large new shows have signed on. Experts predict that more and more shows will be adding onto the McCormick docket.
What makes the difference? Cost to the exhibitors. In previous years, electricians and in-house contractors were required to assemble booths, hookup electricity, and more, all at high cost. With new policies allowing companies to provide their own technical staff, presenters are able to keep costs down.
Though it reduces the funds going into the technical support staff at McCormick Place, there are many benefits. With the new and returning clients to be announced in the next 60 days, estimates show that the contracts will carry about $700 million in direct spending to the city and state.
So whether or not you support the policy changes, at least there is a business boo as a result. Finally, some good economic news.
Here on the CHI blog we’ve been keeping you up to date with the discussions surrounding McCormick Place. The bill that has been so wildly debated is now law.
What does this mean? McCormick Place will no longer have exclusivity over many of the services used by its clients. The good news is that it helps keep costs down, and will hopefully revitalize traffic through its great halls! This is no small beans. Conventions and meetings at McCormick generate over $250 million in tax revenue each year, and estimates dictate that attendees spend roughly $8 billion annually in state.
Not only is the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau behind this, but leaership included Governor Quinn, Mayor Daley, House Speaker Madigon, Senate President Cullerton, and more. A bi-partisan effort, this law will hopefully offset some of the financial drains on our state budget.
For more information and the latest updates click here.
Last week, the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation to reduce costs and retain Chicago trade show business. The bill now rests with Governor Pat Quinn for review and approval.
“Our convention industry was at a breaking point, and the jobs and tax revenue it brings to our city and state were in jeopardy,” said McCormick Place General Manager David Causton. “Thanks to this legislation, we will see a new era in Chicago conventions.”
With labor costs at McCormick Place exceeding those of competing venues, reforms were critical. Meetings and conventions at McCormick Place support 66,000 jobs and generate $251 million in tax revenue each year. Customers who come to Illinois spend close to $8 billion in the state.
The legislation proposes to remove current McCormick Place management and calls for the appointment of Regional Transportation Authority Chairman and former Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) CEO Jim Reilly to oversee the facility’s operations during an 18-month transition period, while a private manager and new board of directors is selected.
In addition, the bill imposes new labor work rules to reduce crew sizes, requires less overtime pay, eliminates hassles for customers, expands exhibitor rights, allows customers to do their own work, regardless of booth size, and restructures capital debt to allow increased cost cutting to customers.
“This legislation is a big win for the state of Illinois and especially for our customers,” said Tim Roby, the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau’s president and CEO. “Our customers asked for more flexibility and lower costs, and Springfield delivered. It is exactly the reform we need to keep our state vibrant and the trade shows coming back.”
Roby and Causton discuss the details of the legislation in a webcast available to all customers and members: www.choosechicago.com/videos/chicagogetsitdone.htm.
For better or for worse, things are definitely changing at McCormick. In response to decreasing sales, state government is taking steps to reduce costs for exhibitors at McCormick. As reported, exhibitors would not be required to hire union members to setup or take down. They can even do it themselves.
In other news, the management of McCormick will likely be on the way out, replaced by a trustee and a board of directors.
Needless to say, there are a lot of Chicagoans who will be hurting as a result of these changes. Let’s hope that the gamble works and business picks back up. If more people come to McCormick, we all win.
The bill that outlines these changes was approved nearly unaminously on Friday by the senate, and it now goes to the governor. Stay tuned for the latest updates.