Detroit's Cobo Center Reaches New Labor Agreement

The Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority (DRCFA), which oversees the Cobo Center in Detroit, has reached a new labor agreement with local unions, it announced last week.

The result of two years of negotiations, the agreement will streamline trade show labor at Cobo Center, according to DRCFA, which says new work rules at Cobo will result in more efficient and affordable events.

“This agreement makes Cobo’s costs more competitive with standards for the exposition and meeting industry,” Cobo Center General Manager Thom Connors, an employee of the facility’s management company, SMG, said in a statement. “This is a significant step forward to clarify and maintain exhibitor rights and make our operations more efficient and competitive.”

The following are highlights of the new agreement, according to DRCFA:

• Exhibitors could save up to 33 percent on material handling labor.
• New overtime rules extend the first eight hours of straight time from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.;
previously, overtime began after 3 p.m.
• Exhibitors may carry exhibit materials into and out of exhibit halls if motorized equipment is not needed.
• Exhibitors have greater leeway for setting up their own booth.

Said DRCFA Chairman Larry Alexander, CEO of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, “Local union leaders have stepped forward to help us transform the way Cobo Center operates, and they have joined the team that is putting Detroit back on the map as a viable and attractive location for trade shows conventions and corporate meetings.”

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