January 5, 2015

Mayor Emanuel, Choose Chicago and Labor Leaders Announce $105,000 Sponsorship for PCMA Convening Leaders Conference

Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Conference Returns to Chicago after Two-Decade Absence; Chicago is the Number One City in the Nation for Meetings and Conventions

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Don Welsh, President and CEO of Choose Chicago today joined Chicago Federation of Labor president Jorge Ramirez and nine local Chicago unions representing the hospitality and building trades, to announce a sponsorship for $105,000 for the upcoming PCMA Convening Leaders conference. Over the last few of years, organized labor and the city of Chicago have come together to boost the meetings and convention industry by attracting new shows and restoring partnerships with shows that have left.

“Labor has been a partner in implementing the reforms that allow us to attract more conventions and tradeshows, and all of the resources that come with them, to Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This sponsorship is critical to helping us achieve our goal of reaching 55 million visitors a year by the year 2020. And when we reach this goal, tourism and conventions here in Chicago will support thousands of working families in neighborhoods throughout the city.”

“This sponsorship is just another example of what is possible when there is collaboration between labor and the city,” said Jorge Ramirez, President of the Chicago Federation of Labor. “Sponsoring Convening Leaders is more than just a financial commitment from Labor. It shows that labor is committed to working with the Mayor and Choose Chicago to create a one-of-a-kind visitor experience that will bring more conventioneers and tourists to our world-class city.

A significant portion of the $105,000 sponsorship came from the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters through the trade show promotion fund, which was created following the implementation of reforms at McCormick Place. Additional sponsor unions include IATSE Local 2; IATSE Local 110; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 134; International Union of Operating Engineers Local 399; Pipefitters Local 597; Machinery Movers, Riggers & Machinery Erectors Local 136; United Steelworkers Local 17 Decorators Union; and UNITE HERE Local 1.

“The trade show promotion fund is really an example of forward thinking by labor leaders,” added Ramirez. “This is the next generation of labor management relations.”

“Chicago’s meetings and convention industry is experiencing its greatest transformation yet,” said Don Welsh, Choose Chicago President and CEO. “Hosting Convening Leaders after a twenty-year hiatus signifies the commitment from labor and the reforms and service improvements at McCormick Place are making a significant and positive impact. The more meetings and conventions we secure, the more jobs we create, which ultimately benefits labor and Chicago’s economy overall.”

After a two-decade hiatus, PCMA Convening Leaders, the meetings and convention industry’s premier education and networking event, will return to Chicago January 11-14, 2015. More than 4,000 key influencers, including 2,000 meeting planners who each plan an average of 34 meetings per year will visit Chicago over these four days.

Trade shows and conventions are crucial drivers of Chicago’s visitor industry. When Mayor Emanuel took office in 2011, the City of Chicago had approximately 40 million visitors a year. Three years later there are over 48 million visitors a year. In September 2014, Mayor Emanuel and Choose Chicago announced that that Chicago set multiple tourism records for the summer 2014 travel season and is on pace to achieve Mayor Emanuel’s goal of 55 million visitors a year by the year 2020 and create 30,000 additional jobs.