Did you know that the average average straight-time labor cost for contractors at Chicago's McCormick Place is $66.30 an hour, compared with $42.62 in Las Vegas and $26.83 in Orlando, Fla.? Those numbers come from the Chicago Tribune, reporting today on an analysis of cost differences between major exhibit locales prepared by two major trade show contractors, Freeman and GES Exposition Services. The Tribune, which has a copy of the report, said the numbers reflect costs charged to the contractors, and include benefits and payroll taxes. The story, headlined "McCormick Place work rules inflate labor costs, study finds," says the Freeman/GES report also cites examples where union rules at McCormick require more workers to handle tasks than would be needed in Orlando or Las Vegas:
Chicago requires the presence of four non-working union stewards for the duration of the show, including setup and tear-down days. The cost for 12 days, in two halls, is an estimated $50,915. In Las Vegas, only one non-working steward is required, at a cost of $8,183; in Orlando, none is required. Chicago contracts require a standby labor pool of 10 tradesmen during the event, which can cost at least $40,333 for a four-day show in two halls. Las Vegas and Orlando require standby pools of two, at an estimated cost of $5,455 in Las Vegas and $3,434 in Orlando.Those are some numbers that will get your attention. The story quotes John Patronski, executive vice president at GES, saying that while McCormick's union workers have made concessions, "there's still a huge difference between Chicago and other cities." But Chicago Federation of Labor President Dennis Gannon didn't back down from his stance that contractors aren't passing along the savings to customers that the unions have already approved.
"Don't you think it's kind of awkward for GES and Freeman, who make their profits on the backs of working men and women, to do an analysis of labor costs at McCormick Place?" he said. "Maybe labor should do one on how much money Freeman and GES made in Chicago."So the finger-pointing on McCormick costs continues. When the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. announced that the 2012 and 2015 NPE trade shows will move to Orlando, it predicted that the industry will save $20 million -- $10 million for exhibitors, and another $10 million for attendees.