Back in May, lawmakers in Illinois rejected the veto of Governor Pat Quinn thus enacting legislation designed to cut costs at Chicago's McCormick Place and Navy Pier. The legislation caps labor costs and lets exhibitors do their own set-up instead of using convention center union workers and also increases the ground transportation tax charged on trips to and from Chicago airports.
Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley said in an August press conference that the McPier legislation has already had a "profound and positive" impact that has boosted Chicago's competitiveness in the convention industry market. The press conference was held during the Orgill Inc. Fall Dealer Market, a tradeshow that brought 18,000 people and more than US$24 million to Chicago.
“We've taken important steps to reform how we conduct our convention business, but we have to keep our momentum going. We intend to stay the course with these successful efforts and grow Chicago's convention and tourism industry,” Daley said.
Also during the news conference, Daley and officials of the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) announced that the show will be returning to Chicago in 2012, 2014 and 2016, bringing with it 92,000 visitors and $200 million each time the show is held.
“Chicago's convention industry is one of the backbones of our economy. If it isn't healthy, it costs us jobs, revenue and other economic activity,” Daley said.
The benefits for the Chicago economy are also the benefits for planners wanting to bring their meetings and events to the area.
This is evident in one area outside of Chicago that is also seeing the benefits that the new legislation is bringing to Chicago and has announced it too will pass along the McPier savings.
The Donald E. Stephens Convention Center and Rosemont Exposition Services in Rosemont, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago, recently sent a letter to its customers indicating that the cost-saving measures of the recent 'McPier Legislation' will be implemented and passed along to all Rosemont exhibitors, effective immediately.
The facility, which is the 12th largest in the U.S. and 2nd largest in the State of Illinois, will continue to work under the terms of exising union contracts, while providing show services at the reduced hourly labor schedule mandated in the McPier Legislation.
"Rosemont has a long history of receiving and passing along all savings associated with the rule changes in Chicago" said Christopher Stephens, executive director of the facility. "It is our intention to implement these savings and continue to work with the Trade Unions towards the permanent adoption of these new changes here in Rosemont."
Chicago-area meetings are often planned in outlying areas like Rosemont because these venues can offer standard rate structures for services that are considerably lower than those of venues in the downtown district. Rosemont is a popular meeting and event destination in Chicago also because of its close proximity to O'Hare International Airport.
As a direct result of "McPier," the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau has recently announced that six customers had recommitted for future years and that three new events had signed on as well.
Combined, the new and returning business represents more than $1 billion in estimated direct expenditures to the city and state for future years and since that press conference, the area has confirmed more events equalling another estimated $700 million in direct expenditures to the city and state.
“We’re [the Chicago area] now as competitive as ever and we have a new system and new leadership in place to take our convention industry to the next level,” Mayor Daley said.