The Rosemont (Ill.) Convention Center and the Riggers and Decorators unions have signed an agreement designed to cut exhibitors' costs by about 10 percent. The unions agreed to reduce the hours during which workers are paid overtime, and will now allow exhibitors to do more work themselves within their own booths.
The Riggers and Decorators are the two smallest unions of the five that have jurisdiction in the Chicago area. Currently, Rosemont is not negotiating with the other unions. Nevertheless, "we're happy to get some relief," says James A. Freeman, executive director, Rosemont Convention Center. "Obviously, Chicago labor is an area of concern. Even though the largest trades are not involved, we feel it's a good step, and we hope we will keep progressing."
Freeman added that all savings made by Rosemont Exhibition Services, the center's general contractor, will be passed on to exhibitors. In the past, Chicago unions have charged that when they made concessions, savings were pocketed by general contractors and not passed on to exhibitors.