Ray Koch, instructor at the Chicago area Carpenters Union training center, explains countertop and cabinet construction in a video for Built to Last TV, produced by the union.
Ray Koch, instructor at the Chicago area Carpenters Union training center, explains countertop and cabinet construction in a video for Built to Last TV, produced by the union.

CHICAGO - The Carpenters Union Local 10 here says it initiated negotiations that led to a major trade show, the Powersports Dealer Expo, moving to Chicago, creating jobs for its members to build exhibits at the convetnion center.

The City of Chicago credited the carpenters union at a press conference last week, announcing the three-year agreement to bring the 10,000-attendee annual show to the city.

The effort is part of a liberalization of union work rules at Chicago's McCormick Place begun in 2011, aimed at reducing exhibiting company complaints about onerous rules that required highly paid union members to oversee routine activities, such as carrying in a case of water bottles - previously under the purview of the Teamsters Union - to plugging an electrical outlet or assembling snap-together booths.

“This is an excellent example of what came be accomplished when the City of Chicago, industry leaders and labor come together to achieve a common goal,” said Kevin McLaughlin, business representative for  Carpenters Local 10. “This not only creates jobs for Chicago workers at a time when the trade show business is historically slow but also builds revenue for Chicago businesses."

The Powersports Dealer Expo is expected to generated $15 million annually to the local economy.

Carpenters Union Local Gains Jobs as Trade Show RelocatesFrank Libby, president of the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters, told a local paper that during the first 8 months after new rules were in force, union members had 26,000 fewer hours, amounting to $1.75 million in reduced wages.

The Carpenters Union operates an apprenticeship program used by both union and non-union shops in the Chicago area. This summer, the union local produced a public television series promoting union cabinetry, flooring and construction workers to consumers, "Built to Last." The series is scheduled to return for a second season on beginning January 25, 2014.