June 19, 2012

Mayor Emanuel Announces Critical Union Agreement at McCormick Place and Navy Pier

Deal Between IATSE and IBEW Will Make Chicago a More Competitive Destination

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced a new union agreement that will make Chicago a much more attractive destination for trade shows and conventions, as part of an ongoing effort by the Mayor to address issues surrounding work rules at McCormick Place and Navy Pier.

"This is exactly the sort of common sense, practical labor agreement that we are seeking throughout the city," said Mayor Emanuel. "This agreement will create jobs and make Chicago more competitive for trade shows; it will help union employees get work and will increase the number of trade shows and conventions we attract. This is a win-win for everyone involved and I commend the unions, as well as the leadership of McCormick Place and Navy Pier, for working with me to get this done."

The historic agreement is between McCormick Place, Navy Pier, MPEA, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 134, and International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Local 2. This agreement allows IATSE stagehands to complete a type of work previously completed by IBEW electricians. IATSE members will now be allowed to install, operate, and remove the audio/visual, sound, and lighting equipment in certain areas used for presentations and performances, and to plug in the equipment to permanent outlets or temporary electrical services provided by electricians.  This would also include lighting and sound equipment which is suspended from the ceilings of the facilities.

Electricians will continue to complete all of the work they have historically completed in Exhibit Booths and other areas not used for presentations or performances.

"Today's agreement is another important step towards making McCormick Place the nation's premier convention venue," Governor Pat Quinn said. "More conventions means more business and more jobs for Illinois."

IBEW Local 134 is proud of this historic agreement with the MPEA and Navy Pier, Inc., said Terry Allen, Business Manager, Local 134. “ The agreement not only promotes the growth of the trade show industry resulting in an increase in working hours for our members, it also protects the historic work jurisdiction of Local 134.  The parties to the agreement look forward to its positive influence on the economy in Chicago.”

“I thank Mayor Emanuel and Governor Quinn for their leadership and efforts to align labor and management to a formula that will attract more convention business to Chicago,” said Craig Carlson, Business Manager of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Local 2. “I also want to thank the IBEW and the management of McCormick Place and Navy Pier for their foresight in this collaborative initiative which will position Chicago to unprecedented success with tradeshow and corporate events.”

This agreement is significant because it:

  • Helps align the facilities’ business models with other tradeshow and convention facilities.
  • Allows show managers to use a wider group of contractors to provide services for performance and production areas.
  • Creates additional savings for show management.
  • Ends a contentious jurisdictional argument between IBEW and IATSE at Navy Pier.
  • Allows McCormick Place to compete more aggressively for corporate and association convention business. 
  • Allows for additional bookings for shows that benefit from these changes are expected to create additional work for both unions.

“Today’s announcement further solidifies McCormick Place’s competitive standing in the industry and goes a long way to strengthen Chicago’s ability to attract corporate and association business,” said Jim Reilly, CEO of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority. “Listening to our customers’ needs was the catalyst for the labor changes unveiled today.  We are very grateful to Governor Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel and our labor partners—IBEW and IATSE who came together with us to put these changes into effect for our customers.”


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