Steve Moster is president of Global Experience Specialists (GES), a global event marketing company with a long history of connecting people through live events.
Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority’s Stand is a Refreshing Change
The bold stand that the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority (PCCA) and SMG are taking to improve the competitiveness of its destination is the right step for the trade show and meetings industry.
The PCCA and SMG have been working on a new Customer Satisfaction Agreement since December 2013, which addresses the concerns raised by customers and trade unions that operate in the building.
In an open letter issued to its stakeholders, the PCCA and SMG officials said, "Customers have indicated to the PCCA, SMG, and our partners at the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) that the status quo related to the Customer Satisfaction Agreement and work rules at the building is unacceptable and places us at a competitive disadvantage to peer facilities in other cities.”
The changes outlined in the Customer Satisfaction Agreement are reasonable and include:
• Exhibitors now can use power tools and ladders when setting up their booths and can work in their own booths, as long as the booth is 600 square feet or less.
• Center management can call upon a core workforce of trade union members to meet its labor needs, "ensuring these individuals have a greater understanding of center operations and policies, as well as the needs of customers."
• The unions that operate in the building get more consistent work hours for their members. A safety committee also will be established.
• Contractors will have more ability to manage work performed in the building.
An encouraging sign that the unions understand the importance of these changes is that four of the six signed off on the new Customer Service Agreement.
I commend the Laborers’ International Local 332; Stagehands Local 8; IBEW Local 98; and Iron Workers Local 405 for recognizing the need to adjust work rules. I believe these changes will benefit not only the city, but also these unions as more meeting planners, show organizers and exhibitors consider Philadelphia.
According to the PCCA, "Center leadership will take steps to ensure its labor needs and the labor needs of its customers are met through the effective utilization of the four trade unions that signed the agreement and other resources." I encourage the two remaining unions to look at the bigger picture. More organizations choosing Philadelphia means more work for everyone – the unions, the hospitality industry - all benefiting the city and region as a whole.
Meeting planners, organizers and exhibitors choose where to hold events and at what trade shows to exhibit. I believe these reasonable work rule changes will make Philadelphia a more attractive destination.
What’s your opinion on the stand the PCCA and SMG are taking? Please share your thoughts by commenting below.