Trade Show Exhibit Marketing Tips and Advice

Guide to Trade Show Union Jurisdictions by U.S. Cities

Posted on Wed, Sep 22, 2010

Provided by Momentum Management

Each city has its own jurisdictional peculiarities. While Exhibitor Appointed Contractors (EAC) do not control jurisdictional rules, they must abide by them to insure future operational success. In some cities, EACs may not touch anything electrical. In others, hand operated genie lifts are not allowed. Should you have any questions with regard to rules in the city hosting your event, please consult your exhibitor services manual or give us a call.

Momentum appreciates your business and will do everything within our power to see that you have a pleasant show floor experience. We are providing this quick reference guide to give you an idea of what you might encounter in various cities.

ATLANTA, GA

Booth Labor, Freight, and Rigging

Georgia is a right to work state, which means that there are no official union jurisdictions. Labor is chosen from various resources to handle decorating and freight handling. All hanging signs are required to be built and hung by the general contractors rigging crews. Exhibitors are allowed to set up their own displays and use tools, without regard to time limitations. Exhibitors may also bring items into the halls, either by hand, or by dolly or wheeled cart.

Electrical & Plumbing

Electrical and plumbing is handled in-house at the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC). Most power comes from the floor at the GWCC, but ceiling drops can be ordered, mainly for high power situations. Electricians must plug cords into boxes, but the labor contractor or the exhibitor may run them thereafter, including lights, AV, power strips, etc. 12 gauge cords are required, either flat or round

Hours

Straight time in Atlanta is from 8:00 am – 4:30 pm M-F except holidays, with lunch from 12-12:30 pm. Breaks are from 10:00 am -10:15 am, and 2:30-2:45PM.

Georgia imposes a 7% sales tax on consumables.

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ -- Convention Center Only

Booth Labor, Freight, and Rigging

Booth and carpet installation is handled by carpenters and decorators in Atlantic City. There are two main general contractors in Atlantic City: Vista and Atlantic Coast. Vista utilizes carpenters and teamsters, while Atlantic Coast only uses decorators. Decorators or carpenters handle pipe & drape, table skirting and signs. Freight handling is done by teamsters or decorators. Riggers spot, un-skid and assemble machinery within the booth space. The normal rigging crew consists of a forklift and a driver.

Exhibitors may install and dismantle 10’x10’ and 10’x20’ booths, provided they use only full-time employees of the exhibit company. For larger booths, exhibitors are required to use Carpenter Labor, which may be hired through an exhibitor appointed contractor (EAC), such as Momentum Management, Inc., or the general contractor. Exhibitor’s may not use tools or stand on ladders in Atlantic City. They may hand carry in small items, but may not use a wheeled cart or dolly. When Atlantic Coast is doing the show, they do not stop the exhibitor from setting up their own exhibit. However, Vista uses carpenters, so they generally have a steward checking on things.

Electricians handle all electrical work, if using an EAC, which includes supplying power lines to the booth, connecting equipment to outlets, installing signs or headers that are lighted (unless they are permanently a part of the exhibit back wall), etc. Exhibitors may not plug in their own equipment here, unless they set their own booth, but they may do technical work on their machinery such as balancing, programming, cleaning, etc.

Hours

Straight time is from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm M-F except holidays, with lunch from noon to 12:30 pm. Breaks are from 10:00 am – 10:15 am, and 2:30 pm – 2:45 pm.

New Jersey imposes sales tax on installation labor and consumables at 6%.

BALTIMORE, MD

Booth Labor, Freight and Rigging

Booth installation, pipe and drape installation, and freight handling is done by carpenters. This includes the hanging of signs and banner, laying of floor coverings, and the operation of all power tools. Exhibitors may set up a 10’x10’ booth or smaller without carpenter labor. On a larger booth, 2 full time exhibitor employees may work without carpenter labor for one hour on the move-in and one hour on the move-out. Booths that require more time than this must be set up by Carpenters, which can be hired from and Exhibitor Appointed Contractor (EAC), such as Momentum Management, Inc., or from the general contractor. Exhibitors may not use power tools or stand on ladders. Exhibitors may hand carry in small items (in 1 trip), but may not use dollies or wheeled carts.

Electrical

The Electrical, plumbing, audio-visual and catering are handled in-house at the Baltimore Convention Center. Electrical runs from floor boxes, unless additional power is required, in which case a ceiling drop will be made. Electricians make ceiling drops and connect into floor boxes. 12 gauge round cords under the carpet must be supplied by in-house electricians. Labor contractors or exhibitors may connect lights and booth electric. Exhibitors may connect their own equipment, as long as it does not require hardwiring or 220 V power.

Hours

Straight time in Baltimore is from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm M-F except holidays, with lunch from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm. Breaks are from 10:00 am -10:15 am, and 3:00pm – 3:15pm.

BOSTON, MA

Booth Labor, Freight and Rigging

Teamsters handle freight, lay carpet, install booth, and perform all decorator and rigging work. Riggers must hang overhead signs or any signs that require a forklift. Any signs that are hung on the booth, can be handled by the EAC. Please note that while the exhibitor services manuals state that exhibitors may set up and take down their own displays, may use hand tools, may carry in items into the hall, and may use a wheeled cart or dolly – the teamsters are not on board with this policy and you will very likely be stopped from working. Boston is one of the only cities in the United States that has closed halls (where you truly must use the labor supplied by the hall). The Hynes Convention Center is an open hall, which allows the use of an Exhibitor Appointed Contractor (EAC) such as Momentum Management, Inc., to perform installation and dismantle work.

Electrical

Electricians handle the electrical work, plumbers the plumbing work, and stagehands handle in booth staging. Everything electrical, other than hardwiring, can be done by electricians, the labor contractor, or the exhibitor. As long as electrical services are paid for, the work can be done by an EAC. Exhibitors do not have to purchase a different drop cord for every device. The EAC can plug in up to eight times on one cord. (Unlike the labor section above, everyone in Boston is on board with the electrical “freedom policy”.) Power may come from either floor or the ceiling. Check your venue and your booth space, as well as your electrical requirements. Extension cords are required to be 14 gauge, either flat or round, and can be supplied by the exhibitor.

Hours

Straight time in Boston is from 8:00 am -4:30 pm M-F, except holidays, with lunch from noon to 12:30 pm. Breaks are from 10:00 am – 10:15 am, and 2:30 pm – 2:45 pm.

CHICAGO, IL

Union regulations have recently changed in Chicago in the McCormick Place and the Navy Pier (governed by the Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority – MPEA). Hotels and the Donald E Stevens Convention Center (formerly the Rosemont CC) remain under the older, more restrictive regulations. In the past, any use of a forklift or other equipment required that a full crew (typically of 3 men) be hired along with the equipment. Now the crew at MPEA facilities will be assigned based on the size of the job. However, since even genie lifts must be operated by a Teamster (they cannot be operated by your labor crew, as in most cities) it is not economical to use genie lifts in this city.

Booth Labor, Freight and Rigging

Another recent change combines Carpenters and Decorators into a Unified Labor Force for Display Labor. The same crew can now uncrate your exhibit, perform the installation and dismantle of exhibit & display material, install flooring, hang non-electric signs, re-crate your exhibit, and hang fabric. (This Unified Labor Force applies only to the Navy Pier and McCormick Place.) Teamsters handle freight, except machinery. Machinists assemble and level machinery and conveyors. Riggers un-crate, un-skid, position, re-skid and clean all machinery. Exhibitors may carry in small boxes or pop-up booth properties, as long as they can be hand carried. They may also hang signs using tape or other fasteners that do not require tools or ladders and can be completed in less than ½ hours’ time. Exhibitors may skirt tables without staples, snaps or Velcro.

In-Booth Work

The legislation contains an expansive definition of the type of work that Show Managers and Exhibitors may now perform within their booths. The legislation also charges the Authority with the responsibility for ensuring that the exercise of these rights by Show Managers and Exhibitors is consistent with training and safety requirements. While this safety analysis is an ongoing component of the implementation process, the Authority is prepared to announce the following changes in the type of work that may be performed by Show Managers and Exhibitors:

  • The "booth of 300 square feet or less" limitation no longer applies. Show Managers and Exhibitors may now perform work in a booth of any size.
  • Show Managers and Exhibitors may now perform work within their booths using their own ladders or hand tools, cordless tools, power tools and other tools designated by the Authority.
  • In addition to the work currently performed, Show Managers and Exhibitors may also begin performing the following work within their booths:
  • Setting-up and dismantling exhibits;A
  • Assembling and disassembling materials, machinery or equipment;
  • Installing all signs, graphics, props, balloons, other decorative items, and Show Manager or Exhibitor drapery, including the skirting of Show Manager or Exhibitor tables;
  • Delivering, setting-up, plugging in, interconnecting and operating Show Manager or Exhibitor electrical equipment, computers, audio-visual devices and other equipment; and
  • Skidding, positioning and re-skidding all Show Manager or Exhibitor material, machinery and equipment using non-motorized hand trucks and dollies.

The legislation defines an "exhibitor employee" as "any person who has been employed by the exhibitor as a full-time employee for a minimum of 6 months before the show's opening date."

Electrical

Electricians assemble, install and dismantle any electrical, including wiring, hook-ups, electrical signs, sound and video equipment. Cords must be provided by the hall. Electricians must lay all cords. The labor contractor is not allowed to do anything that deals with electrical. The exhibitors can hook-up their own equipment or product. New rules allow exhibitors to plug in their own devices, as long as they are not high voltage. Plumbing is handled in-house.

Changing of Installation and Tear-out Calculations for Electrical Services and Booth-work

Utility Services

McCormick Place will no longer charge for labor for the time required to install or remove electrical services smaller than 208 Volts. For 208 Volt and larger services, McCormick Place will charge for actual labor used or a minimum of 1 hour of labor for the installation and one half hour of labor for the tear-out of the first service using the "at cost" rate.

Booth-work

McCormick Place will no longer charge for the tear-out of booth-work or meeting room work performed by McCormick Place electricians. This change specifically excludes rigging or other work which is classified as Theatrical or Stage Production

Theatrical and Stage Productions

For theatrical and stage productions including rigging, and general session, performance, or stage work, McCormick Place will continue to charge for tear-out labor.

Other Recent Changes

Additional money saving rules adopted by the MPEA facilities (Navy Pier & McCormick) include:

  • Work done between 6am and 8am Monday through Friday (except holidays) will now be billed at straight-time rates rather than over-time or double-time rates.
  • Show organizers may tape seminars or speeches on their own. Until now, they were required to pay for a union electrician to be present, even if they did no more than occasionally flip over an audio tape.

Hours

Beginning on August 1, 2010, McCormick Place will observe and require all contractors working within McCormick Place to bill in accordance with the new overtime windows defined in the legislation. This will offer more flexibility on start times as well as a much higher likelihood of completing a larger percentage of work on straight time.

These changes apply to all work provided to exhibitors and show management by the following unions employed by McCormick Place, or any contractors working within the convention facilities at McCormick Place: Electricians, Decorators, Plumbers, Riggers, Carpenters, and Teamsters.

DALLAS, TX

Booth Labor, Freight and Rigging

Freight handling is done by Teamsters. Exhibit Installation, carpet laying, and decorator functions are performed by Painters and Allied Trades Union. Painters and Allied Trades Union workers may be hired by the exhibitor through either the general contractor, or through an independent contractor (EAC) such as Momentum Management, Inc. Rigging is handled by the Ironworkers Union and includes the unloading of heavy machinery and the hanging and assembly of signs. Plumbing is handled by plumbers.

The exhibitor in Dallas may use tools to set up and dismantle their own display. They may also hand carry in small items, but may not use a hand cart or a dolly.

Electrical

Electrical services are handled in house at the Dallas Convention Center. Exhibitors may provide their own electrical cords, which must be 12 gauge, flat cords. The electrical power comes mainly from the floor in Dallas. Only electricians can lay the cords and plug in equipment. However, your installation and dismantle labor contractor may hang light boxes and other small items. Exhibitors may work on their own equipment, but again, only electricians may plug them in.

Hours

Straight time in Dallas is from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, M-F, except holidays. Lunch is form 12:00 pm –12:30 pm. Breaks are from 10:00 am – 10:15 am, and 2:30 pm – 2:45 pm.

Texas imposes sales tax on installation and dismantle labor and consumables at 8.25% (as of February 2006).

DENVER, CO

Booth Labor, Freight and Rigging

Regular full-time employees of an exhibiting company may work on erecting and dismantling their own exhibits. They must comply with local and state fire, safety and insurance regulations and rules set by Exposition Management. If full-time company personnel are utilized to set an exhibit, they should carry positive company identification such as a business card, medical identification card or payroll stub. However, an exhibitor can only work on a booth if it can be assembled in 30 minutes or less and requires no tools or ladders. If additional personnel are required to install or dismantle an exhibit, union personnel must be utilized, either by hiring the general contractor, or by hiring an exhibitor appointed contractor, such as Momentum Management, Inc. In Denver, union laborers are responsible for: floor layout, carpet, drapes, rental furniture, decorating rental items, masking, aisle signs, hanging special signs, unloading and reloading freight, delivery of material to the exhibit space, installation and dismantling of booths and rigging. Exhibitors may “hand carry” material. “Hand Carried” materials are defined as small cartons or portable lap-top computers that weigh less than 30 lbs and do not require a hand cart or any wheeled items. Unions claim jurisdiction under all other circumstances.

Hours

In Denver, straight time rates are from Monday through Friday, 8am-4:30pm. Overtime rates are incurred outside of those hours. Lunch is from 12:00-12:30 pm.

DETROIT, MI

Booth Labor, Freight and Rigging

Carpenters in Detroit have jurisdiction over all booth assembly, graphics, signage, carpet installations and other tasks normally involved in booth constructions. The Cobo Center in Detroit uses composite crews of Teamsters and Riggers to handle all box freight drayage, machinery loading and unloading, machinery crating and uncrating, machinery skidding and unskidding and machinery assembly. This helps avoid conflict of jurisdictions.

Exhibitors may erect their own displays up to 300 square feet if it can be done by the exhibitor’s employees within two hours using only a hand held rechargeable screwdriver. No ladder or other power tools can be employed in the construction without hiring union labor. Union labor may be hired either through the general contractor, or through an independent contractor, such as Momentum Management, Inc.

Exhibitors may handle packing, unpacking and placement of product in their booths, as well as unpacking and placement of other hand carried items. Exhibitors are allowed to hand carry in items that they can handle without the aid of material handling equipment in one trip. All other items brought into the hall must be transported by Cobo Center personnel.

Electrical

Electrical power is provided in Cobo Center exhibit halls by a contractor holding an exclusive contract for such work. After the electrical contractor has brought the electrical service to the booth, exhibitors may plug in their own 110 volt circuits. Exhibitors may bring a cube-tap for additional outlets, provided the cube tap is UL approved. Exhibitors must order the 110 volt circuit from the electrical contractor, for which there is a fee. The standard 110 volt circuit at Cobo Center is a 20 amp duplex outlet, which can support approximately four electrical appliances. Exhibitor may also install up to four UL approved clip-on lights & light bulbs in the booth, and use their own UL approved three-wire extension cords, power strip and surge suppressor. Electrical work is billed at half hour minimums. Product-to-product connections, data hook ups, as well as fine balancing and calibration of machinery and equipment may be done by exhibitors and their technicians. Hardwiring of electrical power requires electricians.

Hours

In Detroit, straight time rates are from Monday through Friday, 8am-4:30pm. Overtime rates are incurred outside of those hours on Monday through Friday as well as all day on Saturday. Double time rates are charged on Sundays and holidays. Lunch is from 12:00 – 12:30 pm.

HOUSTON, TX

Booth Labor, Freight and Rigging

Carpenter Local 551 is the union claiming jurisdiction for display erection and dismantling in Houston. Employees of exhibiting companies, however, may set their own exhibits without the assistance of the union. Any labor services required beyond that which your REGULAR FULL-TIME employees can handle must be rendered by Carpenters Local 551 (as hired by the general contractor or an independent contractor, such as Momentum Management, Inc.

The George R Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, has contracted with 21st Century Expo Group to be the exclusive provider of all DOCK area services. This includes: Materials/product/equipment handling to and from the dock are and the exhibit space. Operation of all forklifts, cranes, forklifts, dollies, hand trucks, carts, and other equipment for moving, positioning, uncrating, recrating, skidding, unskidding, etc. of product, displays or equipment.

Exhibitors may hand carry items in that can be handled by one person in one trip without dollies or hand trucks.

Electrical

In Houston, the electrical work is handled exclusively by electricians. Exhibitors may not handle anything electrical. Electricians will make all electrical connections. Exhibitors may supply their own quad boxes, but all other electrical equipment including extension cords (which must be flat) are supplied by the electricians only.

Hours

In Houston, straight time rates are from Monday through Friday, 8am-4:30pm. Overtime rates are incurred outside of those hours on Monday through Friday as well as all day on Saturday. Double time rates are charged on Sundays and holidays. Lunch is from 12:00 – 12:30 pm.

Texas imposes a 8.25% sales tax on installation and dismantle labor, as well as on consumables.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN

Booth Labor, Freight and Rigging

The Indiana Convention Center & RCA Dome use union labor exclusively to provide services to exhibitors. Teamsters are responsible for the installation and dismantling of trade show booths in both venues. They may be hired through either the general contractor, or through an Exhibitor Appointed Contractor such as Momentum Management, Inc. In Indianapolis, the Indiana Convention Center and RCA Dome manage the overall pool of labor that comprises the labor force. Teamsters are used to provide the setting up of the physical rooms. Exhibitors may not move any furniture in the room. This is performed by union labor only. Rigging is done by stagehands.

Electrical

Electricians hand the installation and activation of all electrical requirements. Electricians provide all power cords, quad boxes, etc. They also make all electrical connections. In addition, electricians are responsible for telephone services. All A/V is handled by stagehands. Pipe fitters handle all air, water, and plumbing needs.

Hours

In Indianapolis, straight time rates are from Monday through Friday, 8am-4:30pm. Overtime rates are incurred outside of those hours on Monday through Friday as well as all day on Saturday. Double time rates are charged on Sundays and holidays. Double time rates are also charged for any work done from 12am -7am and for any hours over 60 per week. Lunch is from 12:00 -- 12:30 pm.

LAS VEGAS, NV

While Las Vegas used to be fairly “user friendly,” unions have tightened their grip on the city over the past five years. Especially rigorous are the regulations governing electrical services. If you have not exhibited in Las Vegas for a while, please review your Exhibitor Services Manual carefully for rules and regulations. Do not equate the fact that Nevada is right to work state with liberty to do as you please within the convention centers. It is not the case.

Booth Labor, Freight and Rigging

The teamsters union (Local #631) has jurisdiction for the erection, dismantling, touch-up painting, and repairs to all exhibits, unless this work is performed by a full time employee of the exhibiting company. If full-time company personnel are utilized to set an exhibit, they should carry positive company identification such as a business card, medical identification card or payroll stub. Teamster labor may be hired either through the general contractor or though an exhibitor appointed contractor, such as Momentum Management, Inc.

Teamsters also are responsible for freight handling, which includes loading and unloading of all trucks, handling of all machinery (unloading, uncrating, unskidding, leveling, etc., and the reverse process).

An exhibitor may “hand carry” material provided they do not use material handling equipment to assist them. When exhibitors choose to “hand carry” material, they may not be permitted access to the loading dock/freight door areas.

Stagehands handle programmable theatrical lighting, productions, related rigging and Audio Visual. Suspended trusses, with or without legs, that contain dimmable or programmable lighting, studio or motion picture lighting, sound system projectors, video walls, special effects equipment, and laser lighting are to be installed and removed by stagehands.

Regarding hanging signs, please note that if it is not electrical (handled by the electricians), in Las Vegas, the General Contractor will assemble, supervise, install and remove all hanging signs. However, after the show, they often drop the sign and abandon it. It would be prudent to have an exhibitor appointed supervisor oversee the hanging sign work so that they will know how to pack the sign back up after the close of show.

Electrical

Electrical unions do electrical work, hang signs that are lighted or rotating, and work on any part of the booth that includes electricity (back lit headers, light boxes, clip on lights, plasma screens, AV equipment, etc.) An exhibitor may plug-in their equipment into the 1 (one) 20amp/120 VAC receptacle per booth and hand up to 4 (four) small clip-on lights per booth. An electrician must be called for any increase in electrical service. Electricians also hoist all teamster assembled signs weighing over 300 lbs at the LVCC and over 200 lbs at the Sands Exposition. Suspended light trusses for non-programmable lighting and ground supported truss intended to distribute overhead electrical equipment is also the work of the electricians union. Electricians are responsible for all under-carpet distribution of electrical, communication wiring (coaxial cable, fiber optics, telephone, etc.) The list goes on, but you can figure if it in anyway involves electricity, the electrical union in Las Vegas will be trying to enforce their right to work on it.

Also note, at the Las Vegas Convention Center, there is a ban on certain halogen lamps. Halogen lamps are limited to 75 watts and must be of the sealed variety. Your exhibitor kit will have more details.

Hours

Straight time in Las Vegas is from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Lunch is from 12:00 – 1:00 pm. While the general contractor usually offers an overtime and a double time rate, many independent contractors offer only a single overtime rate. This is because it is generally necessary to pay the more qualified labor personnel at the higher scale in order to retain their services. Since this is the labor pool that makes up the resources of exhibitor appointed contractors such as Momentum Management, Inc., they often offer only straight time or over time.

LOUISVILLE, KY

Booth Labor, Freight and Rigging

The Kentucky International Convention Center uses union carpenter labor to provide installation and dismantle services to exhibitors. Carpenter labor may be hired through either the general contractor, or through an Exhibitor Appointed Contractor such as Momentum Management, Inc. Exhibitors may “hand carry” material into the convention center, provided they do not use material handling equipment. They also may not be permitted to access the loading dock of freight door areas. All material that cannot be hand carried is to go through the standard drayage process.

Electrical

Electricians handle the installation and activation of all electrical requirements. Exhibitors may provide their own power cords, but they must be of the 12/3 wire grounded type. Exhibitors may prep, assemble and service their own special equipment requiring engineers or technicians, but the “house electricians” must service all connections and provide overload protection to the equipment.

Hours

In Louisville, straight time rates are from Monday through Friday, 8am -- 4:30pm. Overtime rates are incurred outside of those hours on Monday through Friday as well as all day on Saturday, Sundays and holidays. Lunch is from 12:00 – 12:30 pm.

MIAMI, FL

Booth Labor, Freight and Rigging

The Miami Beach Convention Center is the main convention hall in the Miami area. The Local 1175 Decorators Union has jurisdiction for providing labor to install and dismantle booth properties. Full time employees of the exhibiting companies, however, may set their own exhibits without assistance from this local. Any labor services that may be required beyond what your regular full time employees can provide, must be rendered by the Union, either through the general contractor or through an Exhibitor Appointed Contractor, such as Momentum Management, Inc. (Proof of full time employment status may be requested by the Union Steward of any personnel working in your booth.)

Exhibitors may “hand-carry” their own materials into the exhibit facility. However, they may not use dollies, flat trucks, or other mechanical equipment to assist. The general contractor will control access to the loading docks and all material moved through this area must be handled by the general contractor. (Teamsters handle freight from the warehouse to the docks, and Decorators hand the drayage from the dock to the booth space. Decorators also handle pipe and drape, carpet laying, and booth installation as mentioned above.)

The Miami Beach Convention Center has an agreement regarding Audio Visual Equipment with the IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Motion Picture Machine Operators Union – or Stagehands). In accordance with this agreement, IATSE workers handle the move-in, performance, and move-out of the following: cable installations for local cable television and satellite hook ups, audio and video recording, audio visual projection and screen masking, rigging of theatrical apparatus from the ceiling grid, and entertainment events – staging, sound, and lighting operations.

All AV contractors may provide supervision only.

Hanging Signs Most of the time we (the EAC's) can assemble and dismantle the hanging signs and the GC only raises and hangs it and brings it down to the floor on the dismantle. This does vary show to show but that is usually the case Exhibitors or Exhibit Houses may supervise this work only.

Electrical

Electricians are responsible for the installation and activation of all electrical requirements. Exhibitors may provide their own power cords, but they must be of the 3 wire grounded variety. Exhibitors may prep, assemble and service their own special equipment requiring engineers or technicians, but the “house electricians” must service all connections and provide overload protection to the equipment. AV contractors can usually bring in their own equipment and can install and service. They do have to go through the union dock to unload and deliver to booth if it is more than they can hand carry. This does vary show to show but that is usually the case.

Hours

In Miami, straight time rates are from Monday through Friday, 8am-4:30pm. Overtime rates are incurred outside of those hours on Monday through Friday as well as all day on Saturday. Sundays and holidays are double time. Lunch is from 12:00 – 12:30 pm.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN

Booth Labor, Freight and Rigging

At the Minneapolis Convention Center (MCC), any exhibiting firm is allowed to unload, install and dismantle their own exhibit with their own full-time employees. Additional labor is to be provided by independent contractors such as Momentum Management, Inc.

The Minneapolis Convention Center has an “open dock” policy. This policy allows individual exhibitors the right to handle their own freight if they desire to do so. However, the exhibitor may not use the loading docks. Freight to be brought in through the loading docks must be consigned to the official event service contractor or delivered directly to show management during the contracted event.

Exhibitors and outside supervisors are never prevented from working in a hands on fashion.

Qualified riggers shall complete any technical and/or theatrical rigging from any catwalk or ceiling. MCC personnel or service contractor personnel must install banners or signs.

All representatives of an audio/visual company shall be allowed to unload, operate, install and dismantle their own equipment with their own staff and employees. The local IATSE stagehand union will supply any additional labor. MCC personnel have exclusive control of cleaning interior exhibit booth areas (vacuuming, trash collection, etc.), with the exception of exhibitor furniture or personal property.

Electrical

Electricians have jurisdiction over all electrical work. The exception is that special equipment requiring company engineers or technicians for assembly, servicing, preparatory work and operation may be executed without “house electricians”. However, all service connections and overload protection to such equipment must be made by “house electricians” only. Carpenters can run electrical cords, audio and visual cords, and internet cables. Exhibitors may provide their own 120 Volt cords if they are of the 3 wire, grounded type.

All representatives of an audio/visual company shall be allowed to unload, operate, install and dismantle their own equipment with their own staff and employees.

Hours

In Minneapolis, straight time rates are from Monday through Friday, 8am -- 4:30pm. Overtime rates are incurred outside of those hours on Monday through Friday as well as all day on Saturday and Sunday. Lunch is from 12:00 – 12:30 pm.

NASHVILLE, TN

Booth Labor, Freight and Rigging

In Nashville, Full-time company personnel may be utilized to set an exhibit provided they have positive company identification such as medical identification or payroll stub. Any other labor is to be hired from either an exhibitor appointed contractor, such as Momentum Management, Inc., or through the general contractor.

The Stagehands Local 46 has jurisdiction in Nashville for the erection, touch-up painting, dismantling, and repair of all exhibits when this work is done by persons other than your full-time company personnel. This work includes wall coverings, floor coverings, pipe and drape, painting, hanging of signs and decorative materials from the ceiling, placement of all signs and erection of platforms used for exhibit purposes. They also have jurisdiction over freight handling.

Local jurisdiction does not cover the placement of your products on display, the opening of cartons containing your products, nor the performance, testing, maintenance or repairs of your products. Exhibitors may “hand carry” material in to the show provided they do not use material handling equipment to assist them. Exhibitors will not have access to the loading dock/freight door areas.

Electrical

Electricians do the electrical work, electrical sign hanging (including rotating signs and headers), and lighting without dimmers. Video monitors and plasma screens are installed by electricians unless a “live feed” is required (this is then done by stagehands). Electricians distribute power from the source to the booth floor. Exhibitors may plug-in their equipment into the 1 (one) 20Z/120V AC receptacle. An electrician must be called for any increase in electrical service. Exhibitors may hang up to 4 (four) small clip-on lights per booth.

Hours

In Nashville, straight time rates are from Monday through Friday, 8am-4:30pm. Overtime rates are incurred outside of those hours on Monday through Friday as well as all day on Saturday, Sundays and holidays. Lunch is from 12:00 – 1:00 pm.

Tennessee imposes sales tax on installation/dismantle labor and consumables at 7% (as of Feb 2006).

New Orleans, LA

Booth Labor, Freight, and Rigging

Louisiana is a right to work state. Full time employees of the exhibiting company may set their own exhibits without using local union labor. Depending on the association that is doing the show, full time employees may hand carry their materials into the convention center, but may not use any type of assistance such as dollies or mechanical equipment. The loading and unloading docks will be controlled by the general contractor and union labor will be used for this. All rigging, and assembling of signs must be done by the general contractor. Exhibitors or their EACs may supervise only. Only employees of the general contractor are allowed to be on lifts.

Electrical

The Convention Center is responsible for the installation of all electrical distributions from the power source to the exhibit. Distribution is defined as all cable, connectors and hardware up to the first connection that follows the last branch circuit protection device. Any branch circuit connection which is terminated in a non-Nema rated connector (i.e., bare wire, disconnect) must be made by a Convention Center electrician. All A/V work must be done by an electrician. Often times, the EAC can take care of running and laying the electrical but cannot plug it in to the ground.

Hours

Straight time in New Orleans is from 8:00am-5:00pm M-F except holidays, with lunch from 12:00-1:00pm. Breaks are from 10:00-10:15 am and 2:30-2:45pm. Overtime begins after 5:00pm M-F and all day Saturday. Double time is on Sundays and holidays.

NEW YORK, NY

Booth Labor, Freight and Rigging, and Electrical

Union jurisdictions at the Javits Convention Center in New York involve three major unions. The first is the Teamsters Union. They handle the freight at the exhibit hall. They unload trucks or vehicles and deliver materials to and from the booths (drayage). They also provide rigging of machinery, moving services and spot machinery in your booth. They also handle rigging. The normal rigging crew consists of two men and a forklift.

The second is the Carpenters Union. Carpenters handle the erection and dismantling of all exhibits and displays. They may be hired from the general contractor or from an independent contractor, such as Momentum Management Inc. Carpenters uncrate and re-crate machinery or equipment. They also install all pipe and drape, skirting, all flooring, such as carpeting, and assembly of all non-lighted signs.

The third is the Electrical Union. Electricians handle all electrical work. This includes supplying power lines to your booth, connecting equipment to outlets, and installing signs or headers that are lighted unless they are permanently attached to the exhibit back wall. You may not lay your own internet wires or plug anything into an outlet.

The GC may use apprentices and Journeymen, but EACs may only use Journeymen.

What can exhibitors do without union personnel? Not much!

If your booth is a 10x10 or smaller, you may install and dismantle your own exhibit – provided you meet these requirements:

1. The Set-up can be accomplished in 1/2 hour or less.

2. No tools are required.

3. Individuals performing the work must be full-time employees of the exhibiting company and cary identification to verify this fact.

Exhibitors are allowed to unpack and repack their own product (if it is cartons, not crates). They are also allowed to do technical work on their machines, such as balancing, programming, cleaning of machines, etc. Exhibitors may “hand carry” or use nothing larger than a two wheel baggage cart (rubber or plastic wheels only) to move their items. Exhibitors may move a “pop-up” display (equal or less than 10’ in length) capable of being carried by hand by one person. The individuals moving the items must be full time employees of the exhibiting company and must carry identification to verify this fact.

Flame proofing

At the Javits Center, all material such as draping, table cloths, decorative fabric, tension fabric, etc., must be nonflammable and fire-resistant in accord with the standard established by the New York Fire Department. Affidavits attesting to flameproof compliance must be submitted upon request.

Hours

In New York, straight time rates are from Monday through Friday, 8am-4:30pm. Overtime rates are incurred outside of those hours on Monday through Friday as well as all day on Saturday. Sundays and holidays are double time. Lunch is from 12:00 – 12:30 pm. These times may very between different contractors.

New York imposes an 8.38% sales tax on installation and dismantle labor, as well as on consumables.

ORLANDO, FL

Booth Labor

Orlando currently has an agreement with the Local IATSE Union (stagehands) to provide labor for display erection and dismantling – including carpet laying. Full time employees of the exhibiting companies, however, may set their own exhibits without assistance from this union. (Proof of employment may be required.) Any labor services that may be required beyond what your regular full time employees can provide, must be rendered by the IATSE union. Labor can be ordered from the general contractor, or from an independent contractor such as Momentum Management, Inc.

Material Handling (drayage)

Exhibitors may hand-carry their own materials into the exhibit facility. The use or rental of dollies, flat trucks and other mechanical equipment, however, is not permitted. While there is no “union” with jurisdiction over this function in Orlando, the general contractor will control access to the loading docks and control the unloading and reloading of all vehicles at the loading docks. Only full time employees of the exhibiting company will be allowed to hand carry items.

Rigging is handled by riggers.

Electrical

The Orange County Convention Center provides electricians, but rules are pretty lax about exhibitors and/or stagehands performing most electrical tasks.

Hours

In Orlando, straight time rates are from Monday through Friday, 8am-5:00 pm, OT begins at 4:30 if there is only a ½ hour lunch. Overtime rates are incurred outside of those hours on Monday through Friday as well as all day on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Lunch is from 12:00 – 1:00 pm.

PHILADELPHIA, PA -- Convention Center Only

Booth Labor, Freight, Riggers, Electrical, Stagehands

In Philadelphia, full-time company personnel may be utilized to set an exhibit of fewer than 300 square feet provided they have positive company identification such as medical identification or payroll stub and check in with the Pennsylvania Convention Center to register as an employee laborer prior to commencing any work. Registered exhibitor personnel may use hand tools only. (No power tools, ladders, hammers or saws may be used.) Exhibitors may hang graphics and lay carpet. There is no time restriction associated with the exhibitor’s work as long as the above qualifications are met. Any additional set up labor is to be hired from the Carpenters Union, either through an exhibitor appointed contractor, such as Momentum Management, Inc., or through the general contractor. Carpenters also drape tables and work with riggers to un-skid, level and clean machinery.

Freight is handled by the laborers and teamsters unions hired by the convention center. Exhibitors may load and unload their own vehicles (automobiles, station wagons, mini vans, SUV’s and non-commercially registered trucks and vans). They may use their own non motorized equipment (such as luggage carriers, 2 wheel hand trucks, carts, dollies, etc.)

Laborers install pipe and deliver furniture and carpet. Carpenters hang drape.

Riggers hang signs, if they are hung from the exhibit, and unload and spot machinery. The GC hangs anything that is suspended from the ceiling. They also operate forklifts to install and dismantle exhibit booth header signs, beams, etc. Riggers operate all power lifts.

Electricians handle all electrical work that is under the carpet, including internet cables. Carpenters can do anything that is above the carpet, including the apparatus used to supply power, light, sound or signal connected directly to service exhibits, erect cable and lights on rental equipment, install all truss, lighting, electrical signs and chain hoists in exhibits. Exhibitors may connect their own personal computers and computer components, including peripherals.

Stagehands (IATSE) handle the audio/visual work, if the exhibitor rents the equipment. (Install sound systems, cameras, screens and AV equipment in exhibits.) When the exhibitor owns the equipment, carpenters may handle the audio/visual work.

In 2003, the six unions with jurisdictions in the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia signed a “Customer Satisfaction Agreement” to create a unified workforce which allows laborers to work outside their jurisdictions to get the job done. This was intended to simplify and improve labor in Philadelphia. In practice however, Philadelphia is one of the most expensive cities to work in and one of the most challenging cities in which to obtain decent labor resources. Independent contractors have very little control over who they will have on their teams due to the mandatory central labor supplier.

Hours

In Philadelphia, straight time rates are from Monday through Friday, for the 1st 8 hours of work. Overtime rates are incurred outside of those hours on Monday through Friday as well as all day on Saturdays. Sundays and holidays are at double time rates. Lunch is from 12:00 – 12:30 pm. The union requires that the workers receive a 15 min wash up before lunch, so they are required to leave the booth at 11:45am. The same holds true for the end of the day. Workers must leave the booth 15 mins prior to the clock out time, if they do not sign out 15 mins prior, then the exhibitor is charged for another ½ hour. For example, if they are scheduled to be finished at 4:30, then they must leave the booth at 4:15. If they are signing out any later than 4:25, they are paid until 5:00.

PHOENIX, AZ

Booth Labor, Freight, Electrical

Full-time exhibitor personnel may install and dismantle all exhibit properties in Phoenix. Company identification such as a medical identification card or payroll stub must be carried. Arizona is a right to work state. The Local #36 (IATSE) Union controls the movement of freight in / out of buildings, lays all aisle carpet and installs pipe and drape for the General Contractors.

Exhibitors may “hand carry” material into the convention center, provided they do not use material handling equipment to assist them. Exhibitors may not be permitted access to loading dock/freight door areas. Stagehand Local #36 has jurisdiction over all material handling responsibilities outside of those carried out by the exhibitor.

Electrical labor needs to be hired for all under-carpet distribution of electrical wiring. Also for all facility overhead distribution of electrical wiring, including coaxial cable, fiber optics, twisted pair, etc., and the distribution of same from product to booth and from booth to booth. All motor and equipment hook-ups requiring hard wiring connections and all installation and/or repair of electrical fixtures require electricians, as well as all installation of electrical motors and electrical apparatus to be energized. All outlets over 20 amps and/or with a voltage over 150 volts require electrical labor. Labor is required to inspect equipment pre-wired to plug into the system.

Hours

In Phoenix, straight time rates are from Monday through Friday, 8am-4:30 pm. Overtime rates are incurred outside of those hours on Monday through Friday as well as all day on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Lunch is from 12:00 – 12:30 pm.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT

Booth Labor, Freight, Electrical

Full-time exhibitor personnel may install and dismantle all exhibit properties in Salt Lake City without assistance from the IATSE Local #99. (Stagehands) Any labor services that may be required beyond what your regular full time employees can provide must be rendered by the Local. You may hire labor either through your choice of Exhibitor Appointed Contractors, such as Momentum Management Inc., or you may hire labor from the general contractor.

Exhibitors may hand-carry their own materials into the exhibit facility. The use or rental of dollies, flat trucks and other mechanical equipment, however, is not permitted. The general contractor controls access to the loading docks.

Hours

In Salt Lake City, straight time rates are from Monday through Friday, 8am-4:30 pm. Overtime rates are incurred outside of those hours on Monday through Friday as well as all day on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Lunch is from 12:00 – 12:30 pm.

Utah imposes a 6.6% sales tax on installation and dismantle labor, as well as on consumables.

The GREATER SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA

Booth Labor, Freight, Electrical, Stagehands:

The San Francisco Bay Area has an agreement for installation and dismantle labor in the hotels and convention centers with the Decorators Union, Local 510. Guidelines here are quite rigid and are enforced by union stewards. Please do not try to violate the union guidelines in this city. Your labor contractor will suffer the consequences. Also, please understand that in the San Francisco Bay Area, Local #510 imposes regulations on all contactors to hire a certain ratio of workers from their “A” list. These are not always the best workers and can make it challenging to provide a team with all quality labor, especially on a large show or when there are multiple shows in the city.

All hotels and convention centers in the greater San Francisco Bay Area are covered by an exclusive exhibit installation and dismantle labor agreement with the Decorators Union, IUPAT Local 510. Guidelines are rigid and strict, and are enforced by union stewards. Do not try to violate the union guidelines; you and your labor contractor will suffer the consequences. Please understand that Local 510 may require any contractor to hire a number of union members directly from the union hall. These are not always the best workers, and can make providing a team of all quality labor difficult, especially on a large show, or when there are multiple or overlapping shows in the area.

The installation or dismantling of an exhibit requiring the use of hand tools, or which takes one exhibitor more than 30 minutes, or which is greater than ten feet in width, requires the hiring of labor from IUPAT Local 510. You may hire labor directly through your choice of an exhibitor appointed contractor such as Momentum Management Inc., or through the general contractor.

Full-time exhibitor personnel may lay out and assemble products that they manufacture. However, all other material (display boards, backdrops, stands, or anything else on which a product is displayed, attached, or made part of), must be handled by a union exhibit installer. This includes installing and removing of any flooring, and the uncrating and recrating of items using tools.

Teamster Local 85 has exclusive jurisdiction over all freight brought or delivered to the show floor. The general contractor controls dock access, and may station a teamster at any entrance to enforce this regulation. Hotel personnel may deliver items to the edge of the show floor, but then must surrender all items to an exhibitor or a teamster for transport to the exhibit space. Teamster material handling equipment includes dollies, hand-trucks, pallet-jacks, forklifts, and genie lifts. Genie lifts, consequentially, may not be cost-effective here.

One exhibitor may hand-carry his or her own materials into an exhibit facility only if such is small enough to be handled on one trip and without the use of wheels.

IATSE Local 16, the Stagehands, has jurisdiction over audio/visual equipment. However, your union exhibit installer may be needed to install digital signage, and affix mounting brackets, etc., to the exhibit structure.

IBEW Local 6, the Electricians, handle electrical installation, including any wiring beneath flooring. However, your exhibit installer may distribute and connect most power and lighting.

Hours

In San Francisco, straight time rates are from Monday through Friday, 8am-5:00 pm. Overtime rates are incurred outside of those hours on Monday through Friday as well as all day on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Lunch is from 12:00 – 1:00 pm. Should a crew be required to return with less than 8 hours between shifts, the overtime rate applies. Local 510 observes nine holidays, each at the overtime rate. These include Martin Luther King Jr (mid January) and Caesar Chavez (late March to early April). Holidays are usually observed on Mondays and Fridays.

SEATTLE, WA

Booth Labor & Freight

In Seattle, full-time employees of the exhibiting companies may set their own exhibits, provided that the exhibit can be set up in less than one half-hour without the use of tools or ladders. Any additional labor services that may be required must be rendered by the local carpenters union. You may hire labor either through your choice of Exhibitor Appointed Contractor, such as Momentum Management Inc., or you may hire labor from the general contractor. Proof of full time employment status may be requested by the Union Steward of any personnel working in your booth.

Exhibitors may hand-carry their own materials into the exhibit facility. Wheeled carts or dollies are not permitted. The general contractor controls access to the loading docks and exhibitors will not be allowed to bring materials in through the docks.

Hours

Straight time rates apply from Monday through Friday, 8am-5:00 pm. Overtime rates are incurred outside of those hours on Monday through Friday as well as all day on Saturdays. Double time rates apply on Sundays and holidays. Lunch is from 12:00-- 1:00 pm.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, (Los Angeles, Ontario, Long Beach, Anaheim & San Diego)

Booth Labor

Overall, Southern California is one of the most agreeable places to exhibit with some of the best caliber labor in the nation.

The Decorators Union claims jurisdiction over all set-up and dismantling of exhibits including signs and laying of carpet. This does not apply to the unpacking and placement of your merchandise. You may install and/or dismantle your exhibit display if one person, who is a full time employee of the exhibiting firm, can accomplish the task in an hour or less without the use of tools.

If your exhibit preparation, installation, or dismantling requires more than 1 hour, you must use union personnel supplied by either the general contractor, or your independent contractor of choice, such as Momentum Management, Inc.

Genie lifts may be operated in all Southern California cities except San Diego, where they are prohibited. Show management for each show has the right to stop us from using Genie Lifts at their show, but they normally do not.

As an exhibitor, Southern California regulations allow you to have your full time company employees work alongside the union installers on a one-to-one basis. This, however, does not extend to exhibit house representatives or other consultants. The unions have begun qualifying any non-union personnel working on the floor in recent years.

Material Handling (drayage)

Exhibitors may hand-carry in what they can handle with one person in one trip. The use or rental of dollies, flat trucks and other mechanical equipment, however, is not permitted. Teamsters are responsible for all additional freight moving. The general contractor will control access to the loading docks and control the unloading and reloading of all vehicles at the loading docks. Only full time employees of the exhibiting company will be allowed to hand carry items. 

Rigging is handled by riggers.

Electrical

Electricians are responsible for all electrical installations and connections. Exhibitor provided cords must be a minimum of 14 gauge 3 wire with ground and must be flat when used for floor work. All multi-outlet devices such as power strips must have circuit protection.

Fire Requirements

At the Los Angeles Convention Center, exhibits containing closed rooms, multi-level structures, dynamic of moving elements, or that are 400 square feet or larger are required to send two sets of plans/drawings for fire department clearance & approval.

Hours

In Southern California, straight time rates are from Monday through Friday, 8am-4:30 pm. Overtime rates are incurred outside of those hours on Monday through Friday as well as all day on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Lunch is from 12:00 – 12:30 pm.

TAMPA, FL

Booth Labor & Freight

In Tampa, full-time employees of the exhibiting companies may set their own exhibits. Any additional labor services that may be required beyond what your regular full time employees can provide, must be rendered by the Local Decorators union. You may hire labor either through your choice of Exhibitor Appointed Contractor, such as Momentum Management Inc., or you may hire labor from the general contractor. Proof of full time employment status may be requested by the Union Steward of any personnel working in your booth.

Exhibitors may hand-carry their own materials into the exhibit facility. Wheeled carts or dollies are not permitted. The general contractor controls access to the loading docks and exhibitors will not be allowed to bring materials in through the docks.

Riggers handle all hanging signs and rigging.

Electricians handle the electrical work. All flexible cords must be three wires, type SO or equal. Permanently installed wiring on all booths or displays must be encased in an approved metal raceway.

Hours

Straight time rates apply from Monday through Friday, 8am-4:30 pm. Overtime rates are incurred outside of those hours on Monday through Friday as well as all day on Saturdays. Double time may apply between 12:00 Midnight and 6:00 am, as well as on recognized holidays. Lunch is from 12:00 – 12:30 pm.

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Booth Labor, Freight and Rigging

Booth installation, pipe and drape installation, and freight handling is done by Carpenters local 491. This includes the hanging of signs and banners, laying of floor coverings, and the operation of all power tools. Exhibitors may set up a 10’x10’ booth or smaller without carpenter labor. On a larger booth, 2 full time exhibitor employees may work without carpenter labor for one hour on the move-in and one hour on the move-out. Booths that require more time than this must be set up by Carpenters, which can be hired from and Exhibitor Appointed Contractor (EAC), such as Momentum Management, Inc., or from the general contractor. Exhibitors may not use power tools or stand on ladders. Exhibitors may hand carry in small items (in 1 trip), but may not use dollies or wheeled carts. All other unloading and reloading of freight is under the jurisdiction of the Teamsters Local 639.

Rigging is handled by the Riggers.

Electrical

The Electrical, plumbing, audio-visual and catering are handled in-house at the Baltimore Convention Center. Electrical runs from floor boxes, unless additional power is required, in which case a ceiling drop will be made. Electricians make ceiling drops and connect into floor boxes. 12 gauge round cords under the carpet must be supplied by in-house electricians. Labor contractors or exhibitors may connect lights and booth electric. Exhibitors may connect their own equipment, as long as it does not require hardwiring or 220 V power.

Hours

Straight time in Washington DC is from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm M-F except holidays, with lunch from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm. Breaks are from 10:00 am -10:15 am, and 3:00pm – 3:15pm.

About The Tradeshow Network Marketing Group

The Tradeshow Network Marketing Group is a full-service, trade show display company based in Chicago, Illinois, which serves clients nationally and internationally. Products include custom exhibit designs, modular exhibit displays, fabric booths, portable designs, custom rental exhibits, and accessories. The Tradeshow Network Marketing Group specializes in custom rental exhibits, drawing from its own display inventory to configure modular exhibits to fit all budgets and booth sizes, from 10 x 20 inline booths to 20 x 20 and larger island spaces. Their comprehensive trade show services include exhibit design, booth installation and dismantle, shipping and logistics, exhibit storage, exhibit management, online inventory and show management tools for clients, and marketing services such as market research, branding, graphic design and messaging. 

 

Topics: Trade Show Experience, Trade Show Planning

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