Las Vegas – Teamsters Local 631 ratified a new three-year agreement with GES Exposition Services and The Freeman Companies on Saturday, September 11, after a majority of the union’s members voted to accept the latest proposal.
The previous contract had expired May 31st, and an extension expired June 30th. Negotiations began in March but were halted for six days last week with a strike called by the union on September 2. The union felt the contract did not adequately address wage increases or benefits. That proposal had contained wage and benefit gains totaling $2.50 per hour over the life of the contract.
The strike caught Freeman and GES by surprise as they had expected 24-hour notice of any picketing. Union members began to declare illness during the move-out of MAGIC Marketplace, for which GES was the official service contractor, and the move-in of International Vision Expo West, whose official service contractor was Freeman. Both companies utilized staff and alternate labor resources to meet their commitments to clients. Final negotiations with all three parties resumed on Thursday, with a favorable agreement reached after the all-nighter.
Barry Rappaport, Executive VP and COO for Freeman, said, “The Teamsters’ vote in favor of the agreement shows that everyone involved recognizes the importance of working together. The cost of exhibiting at Las Vegas events needs to remain competitive for the future health of our industry.” Ed Burke, Secretary and Treasurer of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 631, said, “We look forward to immediately focusing our members on our continued commitment to the success of the convention and trade show industry in Las Vegas.” Al Dyess, Executive VP for GES, said, “This agreement solidifies our partnership with the Teamsters and our collective commitment to delivering quality service to the Las Vegas tradeshow industry.”
Trade Show Executive magazine will provide further coverage in the days ahead