Navy Pier, McCormick Place Union Deal Reached

Gov. Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Tuesday a deal with two major unions at McCormick Place and Navy Pier to secure Chicago's trade show future.

As part of the ongoing effort to bring "labor peace" to the two convention centers, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees can now install, operate and remove equipment used for presentations in certain areas, Emanuel said. The work was once done by International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

"This is exactly the sort of common sense, practical labor agreement that we are seeking throughout the city," Emanuel said in a statement. "It will help union employees get work and will increase the number of trade shows and conventions we attract."

The deal follows an October agreement allowing two major unions at McCormick Place to perform their own work in any size booth, using their own tools.

“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," said Terry Allen, business manager of IBEW Local 134, in a statement. "The parties to the agreement look forward to its positive influence on the economy in Chicago.”

Emanuel called the decision a win-win for everyone involved and said it was a major reason Reed Exhibitions signed on to bring three shows to the city.

In 2011, the locally based Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society yanked its convention from Chicago, complaining that McCormick Place charged too much for electrical services.

In 2009, tens of thousands of people attended the medical trade show in Chicago. Those visitors pumped an estimated $55 million into the local economy.

The convention has since agreed to hold its 2015 and 2019 shows in Chicago.

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