McCormick Place officials Monday asked a federal judge to suspend an injunction that invalidates state-imposed labor-rule changes at the convention center, pending appeal.
“Even a temporary reversal of the reforms … would result in a customer relations nightmare of epic proportions that Chicago’s competitors for trade show dollars, such as Orlando and Las Vegas, will be sure to exploit,” the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the state-city agency that owns and operates the convention center, said in its request to U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Guzman.
The authority, known as McPier, announced plans to appeal immediately after Guzman’s ruling on March 31. Its request for suspension of his order, pending appeal, had been expected. McPier attorneys are expected to present arguments for the delay Thursday.
Guzman has ruled that the state overstepped its bounds by revising work rules for unionized tradespeople on the show floor.
The ruling threw out passages of the law enacted last year that allow exhibitors to do more booth setup and limit labor overtime and crew sizes.
The decision is a setback for efforts by Chicago and the state to remake the image of the convention center as a less expensive and more accommodating facility for trade shows and conventions.
Guzman ruled that the National Labor Relations Act pre-empts states from enacting legislation that would interfere with the ability of private-sector employees to negotiate the terms of their employment.
Most of the trade-union employees that set up and tear down the shows work for private contractors.
The ruling came in parallel cases brought by Teamsters Local 727 and the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters. The carpenters’ council will request time to respond to the authority’s petition for a delay in executing the order, said Terrance McGann, an attorney representing the group.