Las Vegas, NV – Las Vegas will be the site of a summit next month between leaders of the Exhibition Services & Contractors Association (ESCA) and key labor unions on topics related to productivity in the trade show industry.
The meeting, which is scheduled for June 24, will follow up on discussions held in April on how service contractors and unions representing show floor workers can together take action to enhance the value of exhibitions in a recessionary environment.
“Solutions and flexibility are more important than ever,” said Steve Hagstette, president of ESCA and senior vice president, Nevada Region, of Freeman. “This recession is different than previous downturns. We can’t just wait it out and go back to business as usual.”
Larry Arnaudet, executive director of ESCA, cited the failure of the automobile industry to prepare for the economic downturn as an example of the importance for all industry parties to ensure exhibitions remain viable during the economic downturn.
As contractors have taken steps to keep their costs under control, noted Arnaudet, labor must make its own sacrifices to keep everyone on an even keel. Areas the unions should consider include the easing of work rules and “a realistic approach to negotiating compensation and benefits.”
“It is essential that the focus is on preserving participation in exhibitions as much as possible and preparing an inviting situation for exhibitors to return to when the economy recovers,” Arnaudet said.
Bob Lessin, ESCA board member and business agent for the Painters and Allied Trades, stated, “The industry has needed to increase productivity for years and should take this opportunity to explore ways to do so through analysis and improved formal training of the workforce.” He also pointed out the need of the workforce to be scalable to react to dramatic changes in the industry’s labor needs.