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Update: Conventioneers to Talk About Food In City For 5 More Years

By Alicia Dorr in News on Jul 21, 2006 9:36PM

Yesterday we found out that one of the most high-profile conventions held in Chicago agreed to COSPP_063_andrepont_metropo.jpgstay in the city, which is great news. The news got even better today after a press conference revealed that the NRA (delicious food-making restaurants, not guns) extended its contract with Chicago for another five years, an unprecedented agreement.

The convention’s organizers complained about the cost of a convention in the city and at McCormick Place. One of the most important parts of the deal that keeps the convention in the city addresses that problem—changes in the contract with Riggers Union Local 136. The union, which has more than 300 members, renegotiated its own milestone contract in May, which many saw as a very important step in improving service at the convention center and keeping Chicago competitive in the industry.

A pledge for bigger blocks of hotel accommodations sweetened the deal and with that, along with other improvements in service at the McCormick Place, Chicago clinched the convention. The NRA was considering a rotating schedule between several cities instead of staying in Chicago, which would have cost the city some money. Other conventions have opted for the same schedule, fueling reports that one of the city’s largest money-making industries was declining. Hold on to your hat, though, and look a little closer: Chicago will be holding “at least” 76 conventions this year—one of the highest levels since the mid-90s. Of course, it’ll still help to have that $100 million from the NRA. And all the delicious food that they’ll be helping to make.