Monday, November 30, 2009

Electrical services costs at Chicago trade show "four to eight times" what they were in Orlando

Union apologists in Chicago have been telling anyone who will listen that it is not the fault of organized labor that it cost $345 to transport four cases of Pepsi from the front doors of McCormick Place to an exhibitor's booth at the International Plastics Show in June.

I'm not buying their explanation, nor are a lot of trade show exhibitors.

But the electricians at McCormick Place, Chicago's mega-exhibit hall, are unionized, so I'm curious about how they'll respond from this passage in Tradeshow Week about the Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society Annual Conference & Exhibition. It chose to bypass Chicago in 2012 for more labor-friendly Las Vegas.
The fast-growing health care IT show took place in Chicago in April for the first time in the 24-year history of the Chicago-based association event.

"We wanted a central destination," Malone said. "We knew it would draw well for us, and it did."

The only problem: invoices for electrical services that were four to eight times what exhibitors paid a year earlier in Orlando.
As someone who worked as a convention service manager at several Chicago hotels, I'm aware of the arguments in favor of having a knowledgeable electrician involved with all electrical hook-ups--and I generally agree with them. Cords do get frayed, especially ones that are constantly being packed and unpacked from cases. I've had several, shall I say, "discussions" with exhibitors who insisted on using two-wire (not compliant with Chicago's electrical code) instead of safer three wire extension cords.

And yes, Chicago's first McCormick Place did burn down to the ground. The cause of the fire is believed to have been a faulty electrical cord.

That being said, how do the apologists explained Orlando having far cheaper costs for electrical services? I have no reason to believe that Orlando's electrical code is much different than Chicago's code.

My answer: In Chicago, it's the electricians' union that is responsible for the radical difference in costs.

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Cal Skinner said...

It is hard to understand why anyone with a family containing small kids would come to Chicago, if given a chance to be next to Sea World in Orlando and just down the road from Disney World.

Marathon Pundit said...

It's a double-edge sword. Sure, the attractions of Las Vegas and Orlando are nice, but companies don't want their exhibitors and buyers at Disney World or the Strip. In addition to it central location, Chicago offers balance--
More attractions than, let's say, Milwaukee, but fewer tempations than those other two cities.