Exhibitors complain bitterly not only about archaic work rules and confusing jurisdictions at many union facilities, but also about exorbitant hourly rates for many union workers. Are unions to blame? Are general contractors jacking up the rates?
One perspective was provided by John Patronski, vice president, industry development, GES Exposition Services, Chicago, who spoke at the January annual meeting of the Professional Convention Management Association. Patronski dissected the cost items factored into a typical hourly labor rate set by the general service contractor, who in most cases hires the labor. Hourly labor rates vary from city to city, but Patronski provided an analysis based on a fairly typical base hourly rate:
Hourly base rate paid to worker: $24.15Benefits byPaid to Worker: $19.17, includes these items:
- Pension Plan: $.051
- Supplemental Pension: $5.23
- Health and Welfare: $7.07
- Maintain Health and Welfare Eligibility: $0.75
- Supplemental Unemployment: $0.20
- Apprentice Training Fund: $0.38
- Local Defined Contribution: $2.39
- Forced Savings/Vacation: $2.00
- Reserve for Retirement Coverage: $0.44
- Political Action Fund: $0.15
- General Contribution: $0.05
Total Cost by Contract Paid by Employer: $43.32*
*Note: The Total Cost by Contract Paid by Employer does not include payment by employer for payroll taxes, which may include: social security, federal/state/local taxes, and worker's compensation and insurance. These taxes plus overhead and profit would be added the Total Cost by Contract to achieve the retail rate charged to exhibitors.