Quinn says he will not let a 'cloud of uncertainty' fall over Illinois convention industry

July 26, 2011

Kate Dries and The Associated Press

(WBEZ/Kate Dries)
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn at a press conference for former Chicago Bears player Richard Dent Tuesday

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said Tuesday that he hopes to avoid calling a special session of the legislature in September over work-rule changes at McCormick Place convention center.

The governor met with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and legislative leaders Tuesday morning to discuss the issue, but did not ultimately come to any conclusions. Quinn said he doesn't want to wait for a court resolution, which could take an indefinite amount of time.

"Here in Chicago, [the] state of Illinois, this is the place to come if you want a convention, the best place in America," he said. "But if we have to fine-tune the law in order to get everything done right, so be it. We're going to do it."

The governor has set a September 13 date for lawmakers to return to Springfield and discuss the issue.

"I would say to every member of the general assembly: be there, let’s get the job done, if we can between now and then work it out with those involved in the lawsuit and settle the case, the law favors settlements, I’m all for that," he said.

A federal judge ruled in March that many of the labor reforms lawmakers wanted at McCormick were illegal because they went beyond the terms of union contracts. The judge also ruled legislators overturned collective bargaining rights in violation of the National Labor Relations Act. Some conventions have pulled out of the city because of the high cost of hosting events at McCormick.

Lawmakers had hoped the relaxed work rules would bring more conventions to Chicago.