July 18, 2011
McCormick Place officials have lost another legal battle in their quest to continue imposing labor changes while they appeal a federal district court ruling in March of this year that the state legislation altering the collective bargaining agreement for trade show members at the convention center was unlawful and should be overturned.
In June, the same district court also denied officials’ request to postpone enforcement of the injunction against implementing the work rule changes during its appeal of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
Similarly, on July 11, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals also denied McCormick Place’s request to temporarily keep the convention center’s labor changes intact while it continued to challenge the district court’s ruling.
“We have been fighting this legislation because it unilaterally and illegally changed our members’ working conditions,” said John T. Coli, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 727, which represents hundreds of dockworkers, security and receiving, traffic and parking workers at the convention center. “Workers have been the only ones asked to make concessions to change the climate at McCormick Place. If the contractors aren’t part of the solution, we won’t be able to significantly reduce costs for exhibitors.”
Gov. Pat Quinn said lawmakers may need to return to Springfield again this summer and put together new legislation to help reverse the trend of lost convention business at McCormick Place.
Throughout the debate, the Teamsters proposed meaningful changes, like an exhibitors’ bill of rights, transparency in costs and billing to exhibitors and a guarantee to hold contractors responsible for passing along savings.
“All the stakeholders — legislators, labor leaders, contractors and exhibitors — need to work together to fix the problems at McCormick Place,” Coli said. “Equal sacrifice is the only way to once again make Chicago the country’s top convention city.”