Quinn to meet with trade shows on overhaul bill

Posted May 18, 2010 at 6:26 p.m.

By Kathy Bergen | Gov. Pat Quinn, who has been deliberating on whether to sign McCormick Place overhaul legislation, will meet with some of Chicago’s top trade show organizers Thursday afternoon, less than 48 hours before the start of the restaurant industry’s high-profile show, sources said Tuesday.

Whether Quinn will inform them that he intends to sign the legislation, which show managers are pushing for, or will just solicit their views was unclear. Quinn’s office declined to comment.

One source close to the legislative maneuvering said the meeting would be “a significant event.”

Representatives of the restaurant, housewares, radiology and auto shows are among those who were asked to attend, sources said.

Quinn is considering introducing auxiliary McCormick Place legislation as the General Assembly moves to finish up its session next week, sources said, though they questioned whether he’d have the necessary political support.

Trade unions, which stand to lose power, are pressuring Quinn. As well, the legislation would leave him with no say on the naming of an interim trustee to orchestrate the overhaul and would take away his ability to name a future chief executive of the agency that runs McCormick Place.

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  1. bigdog0319 May 19, 2010 at 8:28 a.m.

    The most intelligent step for the governor would be to amend the current bill as passed by the General Assembly to reinstate labor work, THEN sign the bill. Why? Contractors — GES and Freeman — are significant players in creating sticker shock for exhibitors. What they charge exhibitors for labor is not near the wage workers at McCormick Place actually earn. Second, the legislation as written gives exhibitors the ability to perform booth construction with no limits, i.e., wandering around with power tools, climbing ladders, etc. Can anyone say SAFETY, OSHA, and the potential for legal repercussions stemming from injury? Lastly, labor/union has had the finger pointed at it, yet it hasn’t been labor that so grossly contributed to high costs. With this legislation you make the working men and women at McCormick Place the scapegoats, strip them of jobs and put power tools in the hands of exhibitors…in effect making McCormick Place a rental barn. There are some good things in the proposed legislation, but slamming labor — often cited as the best around by many in the business — is an injustice and a measure that will not solve the ills of McCormick Place.

  2. Chicago 20 May 19, 2010 at 11:39 a.m.

    Governor Quinn’s concern is more than justified.
    Is what is good for Freeman and GES, good for McPier, exhibitors and the people of Illinois?
    Jim Reilly, a former consultant for both GES and Freeman is now in control of McPier for the next 18 months, with Czar powers.
    Will he have McPier’s long-term interests in mind when he makes any decision?
    Who will Jim Reilly and David Causton be consulting for, 18 months from now?
    Freeman and GES charge exhibitors $17,000 for $200 worth of drayage labor at McCormick Place, and the legislative solution is to cut the labor cost.
    The legislation installed a new 16-hour straight time window, which far exceeds Orlando’s 8-hour straight time window.
    The citizens of the State of Illinois now must subsidize McCormick Place and its non-profit electrical services.
    Twice a year, an audit of exhibitor rights will verify that these cost savings are passed on to the exhibitors.
    This verifies that the $20 of labor savings will show up of the exhibitor’s bill.
    So now, the drayage price can be $16,980 for $180 worth of drayage labor.
    The Trade Associations, which share in these enormous profits, cheered the legislation.
    The exhibitors wanted transparency.
    The exhibitors wanted price relief on materials handling (drayage), exhibit space costs, exhibit transportation, and booth décor.
    There is nothing in the legislation that protects exhibitors from unpredictable and escalating charges, cost-shifting, energy surcharges, special handling, bundling, undisclosed third party payments, exorbitant mark ups on labor and other services by Freeman, GES and other GSC’s while at McCormick Place.
    Freeman and GES have retained control and profit on all of these exhibitor costs.
    The EXHIBITORS are the customer, not Freeman, GES or the Trade Associations.
    The State of Illinois legislators need to go back and get it right

  3. JOHN C May 19, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    BIGDOG and Chicago 20 ( listed comments below) are 1000% right on target. The Exhibitor/customer is the KING NOT GES OR FREEMAN. Unions will be getting the shaft