June 01, 2002
Meetings & Conventions: Newsline newsline.gif (8042 bytes)   BATTLE LINES FORM OVER WHO CHOOSES TRADE SHOW SUPPLIERS
Exclusive Labor Deal Spurs Dispute
Will the new rate structure at shows like Macworld hurt labor? A supposed effort to lower exhibitor costs is drawing attention in the trade show community, following a legal scuffle between a major show producer and an exhibit labor association.

Framingham, Mass.-based IDG World Expo, which produces tech shows such as Macworld and LinuxWorld, said in February it would hire a supplier as its exclusive labor contractor, responsible for coordinating all labor union work and regulations for exhibit setup and tear-down.

The move would give IDG more negotiating clout and, in turn, lower exhibitor costs, said Charles Greco, president of IDG World Expo.

But the plan raised the ire of exhibitor-appointed contractors who would be shut out of IDG shows. About 40 percent of exhibitors at IDG events use self-appointed contractors, according to Greco. The Exhibitor Appointed Contractor Association went on the attack, publicizing its disapproval with IDG’s decision. “Exhibitors should have freedom of choice,” said Jim Wurm, executive director of the Bend, Ore.-based group. The counterattack: IDG filed a lawsuit charging EACA was interfering with its ability to conduct business, said Wurm.

Before industry battle lines could be drawn, the International Association for Exhibition Management convened with the parties in Dallas to negotiate a resolution. IDG agreed to withdraw its decision to use an exclusive labor contractor. Instead, it will develop a rate structure based on the size of exhibitor booths, requiring independent contractors to pay a fee to IDG if they wish to work with exhibitors at the show.

Greco defended the new fees: “I’ve never pretended that this isn’t a profit opportunity for IDG. We’re going to become very aggressive on the [labor] side of the house.” He also decried what he calls a parade of middlemen earning a profit off his events. “If we didn’t have a show, none of these vendors could feed at the trough,” he said.

Jim Wurm called the resolution “a step in the right direction,” although he said the EACA still objects to levying fees against contractors.

An industry summit meeting will be held next month to address the issue of exhibitor costs. Meanwhile, IDG’s lawsuit was still pending at press time, with settlement talks under way.


What Association Executives Earn The gender gap in earnings grows in relation to size of organization, according to a 2001 compensation survey. Male CEOs Female CEOs Trade association $136,775 $92,125 Individual membership association $139,241 $85,204 Total staff size: 2 or fewer $75,000 $60,000 3 to 5 $95,640 $77,000 6 to 10 $116,550 $108,000 11 to 20 $138,200 $126,000 21 to 50 $201,923 $159,280 51 to 100 $237,900 $145,518 More than 100 $287,600 $249,233 Total annual budget: $300,000 or less $67,600 $54,789 $300,001 to $500,000 $75,600 $68,579 $500,001 to $750,000 $90,000 $72,800 $750,001 to $1 million $102,000 $87,525 $1,000,001 to $2.5 million $118,800 $112,425 $2,500,001 to $5 million $170,000 $137,100 $5,000,001 to $10 million $227,750 $160,585 $10,000,001 to $15 million $225,994 $171,750 More than $15 million $285,000 $256,269 Source: American Society of Association Executives

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