Pennsylvania Convention Center Expands Exhibitor Rights Agreement

August 7, 2019

Facility leadership and showfloor trade partners of Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia have signed a five-year extension and amendment of its 10-year labor agreement. The contract builds on the competitive work rules and expanded exhibitor rights initially put in place in 2014.   

Known as the Customer Satisfaction Agreement, the extended labor agreement, which went into effect Aug. 1, allows exhibitors to setup and teardown their own booths without limitations on booth size. This marks a significant shift from the facility’s previous practice, which limited exhibitors to erecting and dismantling booths 600 square feet or smaller in size.  

The expanded agreement also continues the PCC’s practice of only assessing overtime charges for trade labor after eight hours of work on weekdays, regardless of start time. This separates the facility from other large convention centers in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast that assess overtime charges or variable labor rates for work performed outside of the 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. window on weekdays, according to PCC officials. 

“As a result of the Pennsylvania Convention Center’s strong partnership with trade labor, our facility will have the most progressive exhibitor rights of any major urban convention center in the Northeast,” said Gregory J. Fox, Esq., chair of the Center’s Board of Directors. “We are partners with a common goal of delivering meeting planners, exhibitors and attendees the best possible experience and value. We know that strong customer service and cost-savings improve our competitiveness and put us in a position to make every customer a repeat customer.” 

The CSA extension was signed by the four showfloor labor unions that have worked with the facility over the past five years, including Laborers’ International Local 332, IATSE Local 8 (stagehands), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 98 and Iron Workers Local 405.  

“We understand that a successful convention center fuels increased demand for the services of our members while also creating new job opportunities for Philadelphians who work in the region’s hospitality industry,” said Samuel Staten, Jr., business manager for Laborers Local 332. “This extension of our labor agreement shows that the trade unions are committed to ensuring the Center remains competitive.” 

According to PCC officials, the facility’s 2014 labor agreement was praised by the conventions and meetings industry for its significant expansion of exhibitor rights, empowering exhibitors to perform more work within their booths without the assistance of trade labor, and enabling them to reduce their labor costs. Set to expire in 2029, the extended CSA builds on that progressive policy.

“The five-year extension of the game-changing Customer Satisfaction Agreement between the Pennsylvania Convention Center and the signatory unions of the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council ensures that Philadelphia will remain one of the most desirable convention destinations in the country for the foreseeable future,” said John Dougherty, chairman of the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council.  

He added, “The number of new and returning customers is evidence that word of our success continues to spread throughout the convention and hospitality industry.”

Hospitality and tourism is one of Philadelphia’s largest and fastest-growing employment sectors with over 74,300 hospitality-related jobs in Philadelphia County alone, according to Julie Coker Graham, president and CEO of the Philadelphia CVB.

“With a progressive Customer Satisfaction Agreement in place, it keeps our destination competitive and will most certainly lead to business that will sustain hospitality workers far into the future,” Graham said.

To learn more about the PCC’s expanded exhibitor work rules, go here.


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Partner Voices

As event professionals and destinations adjust, adapt and evolve in these uncharted waters, it is imperative that substantial resources be put in place for all of the people responsible for planning and executing trade shows, expositions and conventions. An example is Mohegan Sun, which built an industry-leading, COVID-19 Resource Center with a combination of pictures from recently held successful events (the property reopened on May 1, 2020) along with several widely available and informative documents, such as an evolving operational framework: