by By Kaylee Hultgren | September 02, 2009

Despite pressure from a coalition of trade show and exhibition associations for suspension of the San Jose Convention Center's new labor agreement with a local Teamsters' union, the deal remains in place, according to Dan Fenton, president and CEO of Team San Jose, the destination marketing organization that operates the facility. The agreement, which went into effect Aug. 1, states that Teamster Local 287 will be the center's exclusive provider of labor. Industry leaders from the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, the International Center for Exhibitor and Event Marketing, the Exhibition Service Contractors Association and the Society of Independent Show Organizers oppose the deal, for reasons outlined by IAEE president Steven Hacker, CAE, in an op-ed piece published last week in the San Jose Mercury News. Hacker claimed the new contract bestows a base labor rate increase of 56 percent and could create labor grievances and litigation by not honoring policies already in place. Dan Fenton, president and CEO of Team San Jose, the city's destination marketing organization, told M&C the contract will provide more flexibility and better economics. "There is a minor charge on top of the base rate for workers' compensation, but figures have been revised since the plan was first rolled out," he said, adding that other benefits include more flexible start times and reduced minimum hours -- from eight hours to four -- per shift. In a statement released today, Hacker said, "Our industry has been struggling to meet the unprecedented challenges of a severely impaired economy coupled with dramatic attendance reductions and corporate travel restrictions. The unexpected action of the [center] that imposes a new labor agreement that ignores existing binding labor agreements and does so with no prior consultation nor any forewarning is a grossly unfair and irresponsible act that cannot and will not be condoned." IAEE plans to discuss the matter further at its next board meeting on Sept. 12.