Deal reached on Chicago convention center labor reforms

Reuters News

10/21/2011 2:53:46 PM - Reuters News

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Two labor unions have dropped their opposition to reforms aimed at keeping existing shows and attracting new ones at Chicago's McCormick Place convention center, officials announced on Friday.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said deals with the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters and Teamsters Local 727 ending their federal lawsuits challenging labor reform measures passed last year will keep McCormick Place competitive in the convention and trade show industry.

"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," Quinn said in a statement.

Faced with falling revenue and the exodus of a few shows, McCormick Place, the biggest U.S. convention center, got the Illinois General Assembly to approve the reforms to reduce costs for exhibitors. However, a U.S. District Court judge ruled in favor of the unions' challenge in March.

The reforms allow exhibitors to load and unload their vehicles at McCormick Place and use their own tools to perform work in their booths, according to the statement. The reforms also decrease labor union work crews to two from three.

(Reporting by Karen Pierog; Editing by Andrew Hay)