IHA To Stay in Chicago, Cites McCormick Place Labor Reform Plan

The International Housewares Association announced it is negotiating a long-term agreement with McCormick Place to keep the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago.
The decision to stay in Chicago, according to IHA, was made after the Illinois General Assembly last month passed McCormick Place reform legislation meant to reform labor rules and establishes exhibitor rights, which would lower the costs of doing business at the convention center.

“This is extremely positive news for our industry,” said Phil Brandl, IHA president. “IHA’s Board of Directors has long been in support of staff’s research-based assessment that Chicago is the ideal location for its International Home + Housewares Show to be held, but only if the cost environment is competitive with other venues. This new labor reform will allow us to remain in the world-class city of Chicago and McCormick Place for the longer term. Chicago is an important part of the brand of the Show, and this positive change makes it the right place for us to be.”

Here are some of the key facets of the McCormick Place labor reform plan:

Expanded Exhibitor Rights
An exhibitor and an exhibitor’s employees are permitted to do the following work in a booth of any size:

• Use a ladder and power hand tools to set up and dismantle a booth.
• Assemble and disassemble materials, machinery or equipment.
• Install signs, props, ballots and other decorative items.
• Deliver, plug-in, connect, operate electrical equipment, computers and audio visual devices.
• Re-position or re-skid items in their booth.
• Unload and load materials from a privately owned car with the use of a dolly or non-motorized hand cart.

Reduced Overtime
A contractor may only charge an exhibitor for labor services as follows:

• Monday – Friday: An exhibitor will pay straight time labor rates for a consecutive 8-hour period between 6:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
• Saturday – An exhibitor will pay straight time-and-a-half labor rates for a consecutive 8-hour period.

Electrical Service
Electrical service is no longer an exclusive service at McCormick Place.

• Show organizers may retain an electrical contractor of their choice based on a pre-defined list provided by McCormick Place to ensure competitive rates and services are charged and customer service is a top priority.
• If a show Organizer uses the current McCormick Place electrical service provider (Focus One), McCormick Place must offer the services at a rate not to exceed the cost of providing the service.

Food Service
McCormick Place is currently in the process of bidding out the food service contract for the building. This will ensure the best rates and quality of food and service, according to IHA.

• Exhibitors will be able to bring in their own food or beverage into their booth for personal consumption.
• McCormick Place must offer the food service options at a rate not to exceed the cost of providing the service.

The International Home + Housewares Show has been held in Chicago since its first show in 1939. The 2011 show is set for March 6-8 and includes co-location with The Travel Goods Show.