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Thursday, November 12, 2009 2:50 PM

Conventions Say Good Riddance to Chicago Over Costs and Union Work Rules

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Major conventions are ditching Chicago over outrageous costs for McCormick Place electricians. Please consider High costs drive major trade show out of Chicago.

Chicago ditched. Tens of thousands of outsiders say it's too expensive to spend their money here; $52 million would have been pumped into our economy by some 28,000 visitors. Instead, a major trade show says it's leaving Chicago behind for good.

This week, CBS 2 reported on outrage over the hundred dollar case of Pepsi. Exhibitors feeling ripped off. Threatening not to come back.

Now, it's happened. McCormick Place electricians were the straw that broke the camel's back for one Chicagoan who says he reluctantly said "no" to bringing his convention back home.

The Tribune reports the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, which held its annual meeting at McCormick Place for the first time in April, is taking its 2012 show to Las Vegas instead.

Healthcare Information and Management Systems CEO Steve Lieber told CBS2 it's all because of the electricians.

"Our costs were about $200,000 more," said Lieber. "So it went from $40,000 to $240,000 for the electrical work alone."

The city got the word Wednesday that the huge medical convention wouldn't return. They're also sweating out a decision by an even bigger show.

The International Plastics Showcase has been in Chicago since 1971, but now a spokesman says: "We are looking at other options."

Like Orlando. Though the medical trade group says it's deeper than union versus non-union towns.

"It was the number of hours and the number of people it took to do the identical job," Lieber said.

Two months ago, McCormick Place quietly fired two-thirds of its electricians, promising to bring back only the best, and only when they're needed; trying to change the work rules and work ethic that's already cost Chicago tens of millions of dollars.
The article says the issue is not unions but rather "work rules".

Excuse me but who sets those work rules? Mickey Mouse?

If it takes 3 times as many workers to get the job done in Chicago then union rules are more than likely the culprit.

Not to fear, I have the perfect solution: raise property taxes and sales taxes to paper over falling revenues. That may sound preposterous but sadly that is just how Chicago and Cook county think.

Please see Chicago Metro Area Sales-Tax Receipts Plunge, Property Taxes Rise for proof.

Chicago is driving business away and destroying property values by raising sales taxes and property taxes. It should be reducing taxes and cutting expenses. The fact that Chicago has the highest taxes in the nation strongly suggests it has the most bloated bureaucracy and overpaid workers in the nation to go along.

Chicago is no longer "Second City". It proudly sports the highest sales taxes in the nation. It appears Chicago is second to none when it comes to union work rules at the McCormick convention center as well.

It's a good thing Chicago is first in something given that it might be another 100 years before the CUBs win again.


Here is an interesting reply from "Tsotha"
My brother used to do conventions at Chicago. His company had a cardboard display and a demo unit they'd normally lug around on sales calls. But they couldn't carry the demo unit into the convention hall because that's union work.

Since it was over some weight limit (I forget the exact amount, but my brother used to carry it himself), it required two union guys to carry. Since there were two union guys involved the rules said there had to be a third guy to supervise the first two.

The minimum was four hours for all three (for fifteen minutes worth of work). So, conventions leaving Chicago doesn't surprise me in the least. I wonder why it didn't happen years ago.
Thanks "Tsotha".

The reason it did not happen before is that no one was cost conscious before. Everyone thought Chicago was worth it, travel budgets were higher, and money was free and flowing out of corporate coffers.

Frugality is the new reality now, and Chicago (and unions especially) have been extremely slow to catch on.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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