Chicago's economy stung; 2 trade shows blow town


In better times eight years ago, Mayor Daley attended the plastics industry show. After this year, it’s leaving Chicago

After having lost the 2012 annual meeting of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society to Las Vegas, Chicago today learned that the plastics industry trade show will move
to Orlando for 2012 and 2015 after nearly four decades in Chicago.

As if there wasn’t proof enough already, this double-barreled shot to Chicago’s economy demonstrates how the Daley/Democratic machine and its cozy relations with such special interests as public employees union is killing this city. The convention and trade show show business is a mainstay of the city’s economy, but it is being diminished by the very people who benefit from it–the unions that staff the giant McCormick Place.

For why the unions’ outrageous fees and demands are costing Chicago this business, visit my post from just a couple of weeks ago. Read about how trade show exhibitor Tim Hanrahan had to pay  $345 to get four cases of Pepsi to his booth.Such horror stories that exhibitors experience at McCormick Place are not just some urban myths.

Killing the goose that laid the golden egg is an apt description of
what’s happening. The plastic show’s appearance this year–and possibly
its last every–is expected to generate $95.3 million, compared with
$154.7 million for the 2006 show.

Maybe the unions will get the point when they read in this morning’s paper
that the Metropolitan Fair and Exposition Authority, the agency that
runs McCormick Place and Navy Pier, are cutting 100 jobs–20 percent of
its full-time workforce–to trim an expected deficit this year of $28.8
million. That’s triple the amount that had been estimated earlier.

If things don’t change, that’s just the start.


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  • I agree with you TOTALLY Joe.

  • Chicago has the highest sales tax in the country...add that to all the labor costs, soda tax, water, tax, is too expensive to have meetings and conventions in Chicago.

  • I was interested in ready the story about the two trade shows leaving Chicago. I have been providing exhibit rental services and new exhibits for shows at McCormick for years. I receive more complaints about the costs and services at McCormick than for any other show venue. An exhibitor with a relatively simply booth has trouble installing their own electrical plug ins, for instance, without having to hire the electrical union.

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