McCormick Place legislation becomes law

by Bryan Salvage
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WASHINGTON — Legislation that will reform labor rules, establish exhibitor rights and realign McCormick Place operations with its major competitors in the convention and trade show industry has been voted into law by the Illinois General Assembly, according to the American Meat Institute (A.M.I.). McCormick Place is in Chicago. 

McCormick Place is home to the 2011 A.M.I. International Meat, Poultry and Seafood Industry Convention and Exposition, among other industry and allied-industry events.

According to A.M.I., the new law calls for:

 New labor work rules that reduce crew sizes, require less overtime pay and eliminate hassles for customers;
 Expanding exhibitor rights, allowing customers to do their own work, regardless of booth size;
 The appointment of a trustee, former Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (M.P.E.A.) c.e.o. Jim Reilly, to oversee operations during an 18-month transition period and select a private manager for McCormick Place;
 Restructuring capital debt to allow the M.P.E.A. to further lower costs to customers and put the M.P.E.A. on sound financial footing;
 Allowing shows to select outside electrical and food service contractors;
 Auditing contracts to ensure savings are passed on to customers; and 
 Making recommendations to whether Navy Pier should remain in control by the Authority or become an independent entity.

“We listened to our customers and pushed for reforms that address their concerns,” said David Causton, general manager of McCormick Place. “This new law introduces sweeping reforms that will transform Chicago’s meetings and convention industry. We now have very competitive market offerings that put our customers first across the board. It’s a new day in Chicago’s convention industry.”

The new law also provides additional public funding to assist the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau (C.C.T.B.) in marketing Chicago as a convention destination. The C.C.T.B. has served as the sales and marketing arm for the city for more than 30 years.

“Customers, businesses and Illinois taxpayers will benefit enormously from additional funding to the C.C.T.B.,” said Mike Cassidy, C.C.T.B. chairman. “It will give us more resources to maintain and attract new business to Chicago and Illinois.”

Meetings and conventions held at McCormick Place support 66,000 jobs and generate $251 million in tax revenue each year. Convention attendees who come to Illinois spend close to $8 billion in the state. These big benefits were a focal point throughout the months of discussion that led to the new reforms.

For more information, visit http://meetinchicago.typepad.com/chicagomeetingmatters/. Visit http://www.amiexpo.com./ for more information on the A.M.I. International Meat, Poultry and Seafood Industry Convention and Exposition.
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