Unions Killing Chicago Convention Biz

The Chicago Tribune has an editorial that shocks for the outrageousness that is the corruption and overcharging that unions have forced upon the convention business at Chicago’s McCormick Place. It is so bad, the costs are so outrageously higher in Chicago, that conventions are fleeing the city in droves (as we’ve discussed here several times).

But even though we understand as a matter of course that unions are bad for everyone, it is still shocking to see just how bad they are in Chicago. In fact, the Trib notes that convention organizers are charged fully 40% more in Chicago than they are anywhere else. Yes, it’s almost half again as much to put on a convention in Chicago than anywhere else in the nation. Even left-wing infused San Francisco costs less to set up conventions!

Here are some of the stats that the Trib reported:

  • Contracting for electrical service at Orlando’s convention facilities costs 40 percent less than in Chicago, said Mary Pat Heftman of the restaurant association: “I can’t explain that 40 percent differential to my exhibitors. Exhibitors in other cities can drive up to the dock and unload equipment themselves. Not in Chicago.”
  • Setting up a stage for an opening ceremony (with black drape, logos, flags, lighting, etc.) costs $46,000 in Chicago – and $32,000 in San Francisco, said Felix Niespodziewanski of the College of Surgeons. Organizers have to deal with a bewildering array of unions with different minimum rates, overtime rules, break times, etc.
  • Chris Price of the Graphic Arts Show Co. said the quality of work at McCormick Place is top-notch, but the work rules make it uncompetitive. Example: 100 Chicago laborers are being flown to Orlando to help set up the plastics show there. “They will be put up in hotels, fed, and all the rest, and it’s still cheaper to do business there than here,” he said.
  • Setting up an ice machine in Orlando costs $720. Setting one up in Chicago costs $1,700, said Eric Holm of Manitowoc Foodservice. Ordering power for the company’s booth in Orlando costs $9,200. Chicago? $12,800, plus $5,000 for labor. The cost for 24-hour service for one refrigerator is $48 in Orlando, $400 in Chicago.

Seriously? It is cheaper to fly 100 workers to Orlando, pay them, AND feed and house them in Orlando than it is to use their services right here in Chicago? That is simply unbelievable. On second thought, maybe it isn’t so hard to believe. It IS Chicago we are talking about. We have Richard “King” Daley the King of graft, the mob running just about everything, and Democrat political corruption vacuuming up everything that’s left.

Were I a convention planner I think Florida would sound good to me, as well.

(Cross posted at TheUnionLabelBlog.com)

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