Convention & Visitors Commission and Unions Release Details of Accord



The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission and the three audiovisual unions with which it has been warring for the past three weeks officially reached an agreement today and released the details, i.e., new work rules. They are effective immediately.

I'm pasting the new rules after the jump, for all you folks who have followed the CVC-union fracas (which I first visited in a spring 2007 cover story, "Bad Blood") in RFT and who like to know every last nut and bolt of a thing. In [italicized brackets] I translate a bit here and there...

Staffing Flexibility. If desired, CVC customers and their AV contractors may bring their own people to America's Center to perform certain functions, including light and audio board operations; technical directors for video, projectionist and video positions; audio recordings; and operators for PowerPoint and similar computer presentations. [Big change. It appears to eliminate the practice of shadowing (paying a union worker but having one's own employee do the work), which past customers complained so much about. This will especially affect really large conventions that put on big entertainment productions.]

Equality of Opportunity. The CVC and unions will support the development of minority recruitment programs with the city and county. Contractors working in the facility will be required to participate in these initiatives.

AV Work Referrals. AV contractors will be directed by CVC staff to appropriate AV unions locally for all assistance needed for set-ups and teardowns. The CVC will refer meeting and convention business to pre-approved AV contractors.

Designated Work Assignments. Stagehands will continue their service contracts for all staging brought into the facility from an outside source. Stagehands also will set up stages taller than 48 inches high in exhibit halls. [This one gives the CVC the flexibility to use its own employees to set up its own equipment. See below.]

Allowance for CVC Set-Ups. The CVC will be able to perform staging functions not brought into the facility by a third party, including its own staging, staging outside of the exhibit halls and staging less than 48 inches high in exhibit halls.

Discretionary Hiring. Convention customers will have the discretion to hire local union labor to monitor or service their set-ups and teardowns to ensure proper functioning. The customer will decide on the number of AV technicians needed. Customers will be able to operate their own equipment. [Previously, the unions determined the appropriate number of staffers per job. As for equipment operation, that previously depended on the equipment.]

Cross-Training. Projectionists and electricians will be cross-trained to share AV workloads in all meeting rooms of the facility. The CVC will make its meeting rooms and equipment available to the unions for cross-training purposes. [Big change. Previously, for meeting room work, customers hired both projectionists and electricians to staff a single meeting room.]

Drug Testing. The unions and CVC are committed to a drug-free workplace and also agree that smoking and tobacco use will not be permitted. A drug testing policy will be implemented and enforced.

Professional Customer Relations. Both CVC and the unions pledge to continue providing the utmost courtesy and professionalism in serving convention customers to cultivate future bookings.

Bob Soutier, president of the Greater St. Louis Labor Council, who helped negotiate the deal with CVC President Kitty Ratcliffe, said in a statement: "We expect this agreement to help the CVC and unions exceed the record 524,830 meeting and convention-hotel rooms booked last year."

-Kristen Hinman

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