McCormick Place Labor Guide

Production Labor services are open and subject to competition

McCormick Place does not require the exclusive use of any production labor provider. Show organizers are free to select a contractor that can provide such production labor services. All production labor contractors must meet the contractual legal and insurance requirements established by the individual union locals and the venue. Complete Crewing, Inc. is registered as a contractor meeting all of the facility’s legal and insurance requirements.

Complete Crewing is signatory with all of the union locals that are involved with providing crews for work in Production Areas. Our hourly rates, jurisdictions and work rules are clearly defined in the following pages of this guidebook. Contact Complete Crewing to receive accurate pre-production consultation regarding necessary crew and advance labor estimates for your project.

Labor Jurisdictions for AV Production, and Rental & Staging Service Contractors have changed.

2017 saw significant changes in the 2012 labor reform rules in jurisdictions and work rules at McCormick Place. Complete Crewing has created this summary to help you understand how issues specific to these changes will affect AV Production & Rental and Staging Contractors working within McCormick Place. The information in this book only refers to meetings and events taking place in the McCormick Place convention center. Different jurisdictions apply to work in the Wintrust Arena, or the Hyatt McCormick Place and Conference Center and Marriott Marquis McCormick Place. Please contact us for information on those venues.

What types of work does this new agreement cover?

A type of work previously performed by IATSE Stagehands involving setting up, operating and tearing down lighting, sound, and rigging for any event not considered a “General Session / Keynote”.

In the past, IATSE Stagehands had jurisdiction over anything that fit the definition of a “Production” in McCormick Place, including breakout meetings in meeting rooms, and small theaters or meetings held on the show floor that were paid for by show management. Much of that changed November 1, 2017 when McCormick Place reestablished their IBEW 134 Electrician crew pool and shifted jurisdictions for non-General Session / Keynote meetings back to the IBEW. This agreement will be effective through 2022.

November 1, 2017 the following rules took effect:


The setting up, operating and tearing down of lighting, sound and rigging in Show Management areas (to include booths, demonstration stages, small theaters, product theaters, and temporary partitioned meeting rooms) that are placed in a space designated as the exhibit area will be done by IBEW, Local 134 Electricians scheduled through the selected Utility Contractor for the event.


The setting up, operating and tearing down of lighting, sound, and rigging for General Sessions/Keynotes will continue to be done by IATSE Local 2.

The programming and operation of specialized lighting and sound equipment such as spotlights, intelligent lighting, audio delays, and computerized lighting and audio control equipment will continue to be done by IATSE Local 2.

Installation and removal of power will be handled by Show Management’s selected Utility Contractor.


The setting up, operating and tearing down of sound, lighting, and rigging when external equipment is used in a meeting room will be done by IBEW Local 134 McCormick Place Electricians.

The AV company will work directly with the Event Manager to schedule this labor, providing Show Management at-cost labor rates for these services.


In an effort to ensure only one set of IBEW Local 134 electricians service a room at any time the work will be divided between the selected Utility Contractor and McCormick Place.

If the meeting room is used for a breakout/session, committee room, computer lab, or a meal function the work will be performed by the McCormick Place Electricians. This includes:

– Installing and removing the power.

– Installing and removing all equipment needed for these rooms (i.e. digital signage, confidence monitors, light trees, computers for a lab).

McCormick Place will charge Show Management for the utility services and labor to install/remove the equipment. If the meeting room is being used as Registration, Offices, Speaker Ready Room, Press Room, or Exhibits the following work will be performed by the Show Manager’s selected Utility Contractor Electricians. This includes:

– Installing and removing the power.

– Installing and removing all equipment needed for these rooms (i.e. computers, copiers).

– These utility services and labor will be billed by the selected Utility Contractor.


All power in exhibit halls and public space will be handled by the selected Utility Contractor.

If you have any questions, please contact your Sales Manager or Event Manager.

What defines a General Session / Keynote?

This is up to the management of McCormick Place to determine, but you could assume that large meetings with a high level of technology and execution will qualify if they are properly located. Please consult your McCormick Place Event Manager for an official determination for your project.

What is a Production Area?

  • An area used for live or programmed presentations such as General Sessions, Meetings, Entertainment, or other performances or demonstrations using powered lighting, sound, and/or AV equipment.
  • Will typically have an assigned or regular schedule of events or presentations.
  • Will typically have a definable audience area where a group will gather during a presentation and disperse at its conclusion.
  • Includes all of the areas where the production equipment is used and supporting equipment such as amplifiers, controls, and the like.
  • Cannot be part of a Show Management area (to include booths, demonstration stages, small theaters, product theaters, and temporary partitioned meeting rooms) that are placed in a space designated as the exhibit area.
  • Cannot be in a meeting room that is used for a breakout/session, committee room, computer lab, or a meal function.

What do Stagehands do in a Production Area for a General Session / Keynote?

Install and remove electrically powered production equipment including lighting, sound, and AV equipment. This also includes rigging of production related equipment which is suspended overhead.

Includes running all of the associated cables, and power cords, and plugging the equipment into finished receptacles after Electricians have installed and energized power services and disconnects.

Install and dismantle LCD, LED, and Plasma displays connected to video control systems.

What do Electricians do in a General Session / Keynote?

Deliver power drops from floor boxes or bus ducts and handle electrical connections that cannot be accomplished by simply plugging into a finished receptacle.

Turn house power on and off to circuits that provide power to the electrical drops.

Program house lighting controls and in some cases operate house lights.

Who is responsible for lighting, sound and rigging for Non-General Session / Keynote meetings and events?

McCormick Place Electricians handle all facility sound system work. No outside gear can be patched into house sound systems.

I am hosting a general session and have registration behind the seating area and a few areas set up for exhibitors in the room. Is the entire space considered to be a “Production Area”?

Only the areas that are directly related to the production are considered part of the “Production Area”. Any work related to the registration area, exhibits, or non Keynote meetings will be handled by Electricians.

Union Jurisdiction

There are several unions that claim jurisdiction when setting up audio-visual for meetings and booths at McCormick Place, and a few more that usually work solely on trade show booths. This document is primarily oriented toward AV production work and business events taking place in meeting rooms or on the show floor. Different jurisdictions apply for work in the Wintrust Arena, Arie Crown Theater, and the Hyatt McCormick Place and Marriott Marquis McCormick Place. Please contact us to discuss the specifics of your project before attempting to create a labor schedule or budge for McCormick Place and associated venues.

Teamsters Local #727

This workforce unloads commercial trucks at the loading docks, operates forklifts, and moves freight from the dock to the booths or meeting rooms.

Electricians IBEW Local #134

Show managers must select an official electric contractor for their events. Most electrical service and Electricians labor must be provided by the official electrical contractor. Electricians may also provide labor for Audio, Video and Lighting installations based on the designation of the work area as defined in the agreement that went into effect November 1, 2017.

IATSE Projectionists Local #110

Projectionists maintain jurisdiction over all video projection, video wall and LED screen operation, and video playback in meeting rooms and the show floor when live camera sources are not employed.

IBEW Video Production Local #1220

Any time a live camera source is introduced into the production system, Local 1220 engineering personnel will be required to operate a production switcher or asynchronous AV switchers/scalers. If there are no live camera elements involved in a show then the jurisdiction falls to IATSE 110 Projectionists.

IATSE Stagehands Local #2

Stagehands will provide production labor for Rigging, Audio, Video and Lighting installations based on the designation of the work area as defined by the venue.

If your event is in the Arie Crown Theater, Stagehands will perform the lighting, sound and scenic work in line with their traditional theater contract. Different jurisdictions also apply to Wintrust Arena and Hyatt McCormick Place and Marriott Marquis McCormick Place. Contact us for further information if you also have events taking place there.

Display Labor / Exhibit Trades
(Unified Force Combining Carpenters Local #10 and Decorators Local #17)

Responsible for crating and uncrating of exhibits and display materials, installing and dismantling exhibits, including cabinets, fixtures, shelving units, furniture; laying of carpet and floor tile; hanging and installation of non-electric signs; re-crating of exhibits and machinery; installing and dismantling larger scaffolding installations, bleachers, and ganging of chairs; installing all drape, cloth, and/ or tacked fabric panels; and Velcro signs used in a booth that require tools or more than one person for installation. Of course this includes any and all pipe and drape / soft goods work for meetings and events.

This group also has jurisdiction over most elements commonly thought of as “theatrical scenery” in a meeting environment. IATSE Stagehands may also have a part to play if the scenery is on a stage deck for a business meeting, and has cues such as automation or scenic / stage moves. It is highly advisable to consult us well in advance, and we will take your plans to the appropriate parties for a jurisdictional ruling prior to your load-in.

Machinery Riggers

This local is responsible for the uncrating, positioning, and skidding of all machinery. They are not generally required for business meetings or events taking place on the show floor (this group does NOT do theatrical rigging. They are primarily focused on trade show booths, and large equipment, like printing presses. Riggers are also responsible for placement of and movement of cars during automotive meetings and events, and it is important to have sufficient numbers on the call whenever movement of automobiles, motorcycles, etc. may be necessary.

Exhibitors may remove small computers and small appliances from crates or boxes, provided that this can be done without a forklift or any power lifting equipment.

The Chicago Labor Market

Hiring the right crews in the Chicago market can be challenging. Union jurisdictions and affiliations are complicated and confusing, and the rules that work in one venue often do not apply to the next.

Incorrect information or faulty assumptions about crew sizes or union relationships and jurisdictions can delay your production and add unanticipated expense on site.

In some cases, you may be required to work with as many as eight different unions during the course of a single event. Dealing with multiple business agents to determine jurisdictions, sign contracts, and hire personnel can be frustrating and time-consuming. And signing union contracts creates financial and legal responsibilities and risks for you and your company that may extend years into the future. But it doesn’t need to be that difficult.

Understanding Union Rules and Jurisdictions

You don’t need to be a labor expert. Complete Crewing handles all of the details and reduces your workload and risk.

We show you what the unions require, and we’ll tell you where compromise may be possible. Because our budget process includes pre-show consultations with the appropriate union representatives, the unions will always know – and will have accepted – the scope of work and realistic crew requirements of your event. That way, we gain the benefit of their knowledge and expertise; we avoid jurisdictional issues and “surprises” during your event; and we give everyone a sense of ownership… because people who are personally invested in your project will perform better.

We have long-standing and positive relationships with union business agents and their members. Due in large part to the relationships we’ve cultivated, people understand our expectations and are happy to work for us. We also have our own A-list of crew, and we hand pick the lead personnel for our crews whenever possible.

Complete Crewing develops detailed, specific, accurate crew schedules that are free of union jurisdictional conflicts. Using our knowledge of venue logistics and labor productivity, we analyze your workflow to create crewing solutions that maximize your labor budget and keep you on track.

To help you make informed decisions regarding production labor, we have prepared concise jurisdictional summaries for meeting and event work at McCormick Place and distilled the relevant labor contracts down to a single page per union. They are not the actual contracts, but they contain more than enough data to assist you in making informed decisions.

Information is power, but don’t try to go this alone.

We strongly recommend that you submit the technical specs and production schedule for your event to Complete Crewing prior to preparing a project or proposal budget. We’ll review your specs and ask all the right questions, then deliver a detailed labor budget that accurately reflects the scope and schedule of your project. 

For more detailed information and pricing, contact us today!

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