CHICAGO-According to the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT), IMTS 2010 saw the initial implementation of some positive labor rule changes and overall reforms. Yet, several of those changes were put into question by a court decision approximately six months after the show, the association says. Throughout summer and fall 2011, negotiations were held which yielded a permanent agreement, keeping exhibitor-friendly work rules in place.

An important part of this contract is the full completion of the exhibitor rights document. For IMTS exhibitors, the most important element of this agreement gives exhibitors the right to use their own employees to assemble their own machines. This means exhibitors no longer need to hire labor, either from GES or through an EAC (exhibitor-appointed contractor), to work on their products in their booths. In common terms, millwrights/carpenters are not required for product work of any kind.

Exhibitors should bear this in mind when obtaining quotes for booth work at IMTS 2012. Other provisions of the new agreement that exhibitors will notice include private operations of the building and all food services. McCormick Place is now operated by SMG Management and food service is provided by Savor. Both of these moves have greatly reduced the overhead costs at McCormick and resulted in lower prices for food service and more efficient operations of the facility.

The following key reforms are now permanent:

  • The Exhibitors’ bill of rights allows show managers and exhibitors to perform their own work in any size booth, using their own ladders or hand tools, cordless tools, power tools and other tools designated by the Authority.
  • Key expanded straight-time (Monday-Friday) is restored and additional provisions roll back double-time pay for certain holidays (Columbus, Day, Veterans Day, Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, and Presidents Day) and a more flexible schedule on Saturdays, which reduces double-time.
  • Auto small utility vehicles (ASUV), or POV - Provisions allow exhibitors to operate, load and unload their own vehicles at McCormick Place docks and designated loading areas.
  • Crew size reductions allows some work at McCormick Place to be done by 2-person crews rather than the three-person crews required prior to the reforms.

    Additionally, changes in the funding mechanism for McCormick Place from the Illinois Legislature have allowed plans to move forward for an expansion of Hyatt McCormick Place. A second tower will be under construction on the north side of the existing hotel and should be under construction during IMTS 2012. This should cause minimal disruption as the area is not in a main traffic area of the existing hotel or McCormick Place.