Everything in life is a work in progress, including the reformation of labor practices at expo centers.

Legislation overhauling work rules at McCormick Place is sweeping, but don’t expect implementation all at once. An FAQ about the reforms from the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau puts it diplomatically:

“The next 18 months will be a period of great growth, with each day building upon the next and customers seeing more positive changes as time progresses. There is no one-day fix to the convention industry’s problems, but changes will be evident from the first day forward.”

Apropos the comment to our last post from VM: what the bureau seems to be saying is that exhibitors at Graph Expo 2010 will find conditions changed somewhat for the better, but not wholly transformed. And does anyone expect cheerful compliance from union members who will lose overtime pay—and face—because of the new work rules?

To Forest Mayberry’s question—“Does legislation permit exhibitors to park in Navy Pier lot and transport exhibit booth containers from car to exhibit floor?”—here’s what a “Notice to Stakeholders” from the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA, the agency in charge of the Navy Pier and McCormick Place) has to say:

“Exhibitors may now unload and load privately owned vehicles using non-motorized hand trucks and dollies in areas designated by MPEA for such purposes. The Authority must evaluate the logistics of this new policy and identify the areas where such unloading and loading may occur safely.”

If the MPEA designates the Navy Pier lot as one of these areas, then presumably it will be OK to do muscle-powered schlepping from there. But we will have to wait for particulars like these to be sorted out while those tasked with carrying out the reforms “substantially revise existing MPEA policies and procedures.”

The convention bureau and the MPEA have set up a web site, “Chicago Meeting Matters,” where exhibitors can stay abreast of developments at McCormick Place. A brochure explaining the work rules and exhibitor rights can be downloaded here.

A p.s. to Lithoman, who mentioned a $75,000 campaign contribution from the Teamsters union to Illinois governor Pat Quinn: the governor has denied any connection between his acceptance of the money and his unsuccessful attempt to amend the legislation in ways that would have benefited the Teamsters and other union groups.