Court Refuses to Delay McCormick Place Reforms Ruling

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Chicago, IL – An attempt to keep the welcome work-rule reforms at McCormick Place intact was rejected by a federal appeals court July 11. The Metropolitan Pier and Exhibition (MPEA) had asked for a stay while it appealed a lower-court ruling that found the rule changes to be in violation of the National Labor Relations Act. The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decided not to halt the rollback of the rules, although it did agree to expedite the appeal process.

The Chicago Tribune said the expedited schedule would establish a timetable for the formal appeal over the next two months.

Meanwhile, MPEA vowed to do its best to keep its trade show business stable. “With today’s ruling on denying the motion, we are compelled to seek whatever it takes to save Chicago’s convention and trade show business,” MPEA Trustee Jim Reilly said. Reilly did not mention any specific steps the MPEA might take to offset the legal setbacks, although Chicago media reports have said making the union workers government employees was a possible option.

The March ruling by a U.S. District Court judge threatened some of the more significant labor reform instituted by the Illinois legislature.  The changes included alterations to overtime schedules and union crew sizes. They also allow exhibitors to do a larger share of their booth set-up work.

The changes were challenged by the Teamsters and Carpenters on the grounds they violated an NLRA provision barring legislatures from interfering with contracts between unions and private employers, which in the case of McCormick Place, refer to general service contractors that install and dismantle the shows.

Reach Jim Reilly at (312) 791-7500 or jreilly@mpea.com