McPier board gives recommendations to Ill. General Assembly

April 29, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Customers of McCormick Place have complained that hosting the event at the Chicago convention center has become too expensive due to the costs of labor work rules. Many have moved their conventions elsewhere and others are threatening to do the same if it doesn't change.

On Thursday, the Interim Board of Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) approved its final report to the Illinois General Assembly in an attempt to cut costs at Mc Cormick Place. Read the full report

The board made four recommendations:

  • Make all trade show labor public employees to allow the renegotiation of contracts and eliminate costly work rules not experienced by customers in other venues
  • Eliminate FOCUS One, the in-house electrical service, and allow customers to select their own private contractor. Also allow customers to order packaged food from either third party food service providers within McCormick Place or outside vendors of their choice.
  • Restructure the capital debt to save as much as $50 million annually to help cut prices to customers.
  • Move government funding for convention and trade show marketing to MPEA, from the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau (CCTB).

    McCormick Place has come under fire since several big trade shows have backed out of hosting their events in Chicago for cheaper locations. The loss of those shows has translated to less money for hotels and restaurants and others affected in Chicago's tourism industry.

    Reports indicate as many as 20 shows are waiting on the state to make a decision in McCormick Place before deciding whether to leave town.

    The MPEA board also recommended that the MPEA go public so that new agreements can be worked out with show labor.

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