Announcement expected on McCormick Place unions

October 21, 2011 (CHICAGO)

The city has lost shows in recent years because the cost to operate at McCormick Place has gone up.

In a move to stop the exodus of big trade shows from Chicago, Springfield passed a law last year that changed work and hour rules for union workers at McCormick Place, but it was short lived. A federal judge sided with unions and ruled it violated labor laws because it interfered with the negotiating process between unions and private employers, but it now appears that the savings the city and state officials failed to get with that legislation will now be won through negotiation.

In talks with private employers and city and state officials, the carpenters union has reportedly reached a deal to cut costs. The Teamsters union is also voting on an agreement.

For decades, McCormick Place's huge exhibit hall, the largest in the world, dominated the business of hosting conventions and trade shows, but in recent years, places like Las Vegas and Orlando have lured away conventions from Chicago because it's been cheaper to operate in those cities.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ill. Governor Pat Quinn will be making a joint announcement, and sources say the deal with the carpenters union is done.

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