The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority in Chicago has
signed a new collective bargaining agreement with the Chicago &
Northeast Illinois District Council of Carpenters, which represents
more trade show workers at McCormick Place than any other union.
The new contract, now in effect, expands the window during which
standard "straight time" wages apply, eliminates certain "double
time" wages, and requires random drug and alcohol testing of union
members. "This is a historic agreement because the carpenters union
agreed to enter into direct negotiations with the contractors who
work at McCormick Place to provide greater flexibility and cost
savings to exhibitors on our show floors," David Causton, general
manager of McCormick Place, said in a statement.
Days after the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority
announced that the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center has
generated one million hotel room nights since opening four years
ago, food-service workers at the BCEC and the John B. Hynes
Veterans Memorial Convention Center voted to authorize a strike
against Aramark, the company that provides food service to the
centers. Members of Unite HERE Local 26 said Aramark is withholding
benefits unjustly from certain workers. An Aramark spokesperson
declined to comment on specifics of the negotiations but said the
company is talking with the union to resolve the dispute without a
work stoppage. No strike date has been set.
The vast majority of the meeting and hospitality infrastructure
in Wisconsin Dells, Wis., has been unaffected by this week's severe
storms and flooding that have led to a state of emergency in 30
Wisconsin counties. Flooding caused the manmade Lake Delton to
drain completely, destroying some lakefront homes and ripping up
roads, but the nearby Kalahari Resort reported no damage and no
accessibility issues. The Chula Vista Resort, the other major
convention destination in the Dells, well north of Lake Delton, was
unaffected as well.
The 1893 Fairmont New Orleans hotel, closed since Hurricane
Katrina struck in 2005, will undergo a $100 million redevelopment
and reopen in spring 2009 as a Waldorf=Astoria Collection property.
The renovation effort will turn what once was a 701-room hotel into
a 500-room property, 110 of which will be suites. The Roosevelt,
The Waldorf=Astoria Collection, will offer 55,000 square feet of
meeting space, including three ballroomsæ-- the 20,000-square-foot
Grand, the 13,000-square-foot Imperial and the 6,000-square-foot
The 500-room Doubletree Hotel Chicago Magnificent Mile opened
last week between Navy Pier and North Michigan Avenue, following a
$21 million transformation from the former Chicago City Centre
Hotel & Sports Club. All guest rooms have been refurbished.
Renovation of the 17,000 square feet of meeting space is nearly
complete, with final touches to be added over the next couple of
months. All 13 meeting rooms currently are available to groups,
however. Guests are given complimentary access to the Lakeshore
Athletic Club, a 65,000-square-foot fitness center within the
complex. A new restaurant will open at the hotel in the fall.
Last Thursday, New York Gov. David Paterson appointed Robert
Wilmers, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of
Buffalo, N.Y.-based M&T Bank Corp., as the sole chairman of New
York City's Empire State Development Corp., effective mid-July. The
ESDC is responsible for New York City's Jacob K. Javits Center
expansion and the proposed Moynihan Station development, among
others projects. Prior to the appointment, company leadership was
divided by upstate and downstate chairs, a measure put in place by
former Gov. Eliot Spitzer. Also on Thursday, Dan Gundersen, who
currently holds the upstate chair position, announced his
resignation. Former downstate chairman Patrick Foye quit in March,
following Spitzer's departure from office. Wilmers will be based in
Buffalo, N.Y., and will begin a search for two people to run the
upstate and downstate divisions; they will report directly to
The Green Meetings Industry Council and VisitDenmark are
collaborating on an initiative known as Meeting the Future. Kicked
off to coincide with the United Nations World Environment Day, the
plan is designed to consolidate worldwide sustainability efforts by
meetings-industry professionals and organizations. VisitDenmark has
appointed a Meeting the Future steering committee whose members
will prepare an industry position paper, to be presented in
December 2009 at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.
The committee soon will send out invitations to industry
associations and organizations to participate in the process.
The North American Chapter of the International Association of
Conference Centers has formed a task force to evaluate the
technology being provided by IACC-member properties. "Our goal is
to ensure that IACC membership technology criteria are always on
the cutting edge of what meeting planners and attendees require,"
said Neil Pompan, president of IACC North America and vice
president of EMCVenues Consulting Solutions. The task force is
expected to make recommendations for minimum and ideal requirements
relating to sound, lighting, computer technology and presentation
technology that will apply to conference rooms as part of IACC's
Universal Criteria for membership.
Hilton Hotels Corp. will launch 30 Hampton Inn Hotels in the
U.K. and 25 Hilton Garden Inns in Turkey over the next five years.
The total cost of the new properties is expected to be US$1
billion. The company has reached a management deal with HLH, the
firm that will build the U.K. properties, and with the Kosifler
Group, which will develop the Turkey hotels.