GES, Chicago Warehouse Carpenters Reach New Labor Agreement

June 24, 2013

Rachel Wimberly

Rachel Wimberly is president and editor-in-chief of Trade Show News Network. Follow her on Twitter - TSNN_Rachel.

A new, 5-year labor agreement was reached between Global Experience Specialists and the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters Local 1027, who work in the warehouse on exhibits and other projects.

Contract renewal negotiations originally had halted June 3 because of the union’s request for a 17-percent wage increase during a 4-year period and GES’ offer of a 15-percent increase during the same 4-year time period.

Neither side disclosed specifics of the new agreement, but Frank T. Libby, president and executive secretary-treasurer for the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters, said agreeing to lengthen the contract to five years was an important element for his group.

“There was a compromise,” he added. “They went back to the table and were able to work it out.”

The new agreement replaces the one that expired May 31. GES officials said they believe the this one provides a more acceptable wage and benefit package, as compared to the union’s prior proposal.

After talks lapsed June 3, GES officials said they resumed negotiating when union leadership contacted GES.

“We are pleased to reach a more reasonable agreement that allows us to move forward,” said GES President Steve Moster.

He added, “GES took a stand for our clients, for our employees and for the industry. We have undertaken several initiatives to address the rising costs of trade shows. This most recent action was an effort to improve labor management, which includes negotiating fair and equitable collective bargaining agreements with our union partners. When excessive increases are demanded during the collective bargaining process, it has a direct and immediate impact on the cost of trade shows.” 

Libby had previously said one of his union’s main sticking points was the $5.11 hourly rate savings that GES received, compared with its competition, during the last contract negotiations.

“We are trying to build parity with our contractors,” he added.

Local 1027 are warehouse contractors who do not work onsite at shows. Besides exhibit fabrication, they typically build registration counters, charging stations and other elements for the showfloor.

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