Smart Moves for Chicago and McCormick Place
Anyway, it's about time. Chicago has been feeling the pinch, not only of our rocky economy, but from cities like Las Vegas and Orlando where more enlightened union work rules are in play, making convention venues in those cities more financially attractive for show organizers and the companies that pay the freight. Personally, I like Chicago far better than Vegas (a waste of perfectly good desert) or Orlando and its ridiculous amusement parks, but I sure like the lower costs when I go to those cities.
So far, the law, which was enacted in early June, is expected to hold up in court. As well it should. Advocates of unions, right to work and the like, can whine all they want. My father worked in the trades, so I understand how this works. But the bigger picture is that the carpenters, riggers, electricians and other tradesmen have been riding a gravy train fueled by a business model that has long since outlived its usefulness.
The union leaders and the rank and file need to understand that while their wages may not seem like an important part of a show booth that covers half an acre of McCormick floor space, it's a cost seen as increasingly onerous, and even more so in an uncertain economy. With major players at GRAPH EXPO and numerous other shows pulling out or sharply reducing their footprint, and many firms questioning the cost effectiveness of trade shows to begin with, the move to help control trade show costs is a wise and welcome one. For union workers, getting paid less to set up a show beats not having a show to set up.
The next trick is to get Chicago hotel prices out of the stratosphere. Where do these people think they are? I've gotten much more for my money in Paris than I can find in the Windy City.