Teamsters Local 727 Keeps Up the Fight for Jobs at McCormick Place

| April 7, 2020

Because of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, Governor Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot have recently turned the nation’s largest convention center into a field hospital in the hopes of alleviating future concerns over overcrowding at Chicago’s hospitals. As the transformation from showroom floor to hospital continues, Teamsters Local 727 has been in constant communication with McCormick Place management. Whether it’s about Security, Fire Safety, Receiving, or Tradeshow Members, Teamsters Local 727 remains diligent about policing the municipal corporation and all employers to ensure and protect 727 members and their jobs.

Among their many job duties, Tradeshow Members handle the freight that is delivered to the showroom floors of McCormick Place. Since the field hospital is being built on the show floor this is Teamster work and Local 727 has over three hundred men and women ready and willing to perform this work and do the job that is their contractual right to perform.  “We know that turning McCormick Place from a convention center to a hospital is a complicated situation, made even more complicated during an international and statewide health crisis, but our frontline, essential workers stand ready and willing to work. We fully expect to do any and all work outlined in the collective bargaining agreement that our members have historically performed, and our members are happy to go above and beyond the call to serve our city,” John Coli Jr., Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 727 said.

Similarly, Teamsters Local 727 security members, long-term employees of ASM Global (formerly SMG) , have a contract that guarantees them the work of securing all McCormick Place buildings—from patrolling to fire and safety. Recently, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, ASM Global has furloughed the entire part-time staff until further notice and the full-time employees have been furloughed one day per week. The reduction of work was a decision that was made when all convention/trade shows were cancelled. Now that the city is utilizing the 2.6 square million convention center as a hospital, the need to secure McCormick Place is more important than ever. Despite this clear need, not only is ASM refusing to return the staff to the full capacity, they are not acknowledging their clear contractual violations for the outrageous attempt to hire an outside security firm to do Teamsters Local 727 work. The Union has filed a grievance and sent a lengthy information request over ASM’s blatant violation of the contract.

“ASM and Teamsters Local 727 have a collective bargaining agreement that clearly outlines that any security work at McCormick Place goes to our security members. They have a responsibility to the membership. Furthermore, our members are sitting at home not only worried about their health and the health of their families but also about when they will be able to return to work. ASM’s blatant violations and replacement of frontline, essential workers that have served our communities for years is disgraceful. If management thinks that we are going to allow them to do whatever they want, violate the contract, and contract out our work, they are going to have another fight on their hands,” said John Coli Jr., Secretary Treasurer of Teamsters Local 727. The Union has and will continue to demand that ASM (formerly SMG) cease and desist illegally contracting out Teamsters Local 727 work, bring back any furloughed members, and make all members whole.

Furthermore, Teamsters Local 727 has continued to bargain a new Collective Bargaining Agreement for the members who work for McCormick Place in central receiving.  The Union has secured an agreement with the Company that any and all wages will be retroactive to the expiration date of the agreement while the successor contract is being negotiated. Teamsters Local 727 will continue to call on MPEA and all McCormick Place employers to protect and pay our frontline, essential members during this time of uncertainty.

Members with questions should contact Mike DeGard at (847) 696-7500.

Nothing in this article should be read as the union’s waiver of any legal argument, position or grievance(s), or as a waiver of any rights, arguments, or defenses under any contract, collective bargaining agreement, or applicable law.  The union does not forfeit its right to make any and all supplemental arguments.


Category: TRADE SHOW, Union News

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