ASA members received the email earlier this week: the 2011 ASA meetings scheduled for Chicago are going to be moved to a new location. This was the official explanation in the email (and press release):
The contracts between Chicago union hotels and UNITE HERE expired August 31, 2009. Since that time, there have been 11 bargaining sessions but contract negotiations are stalled. We have waited as long as possible to see if the contract situation would be resolved in deference to the importance of Chicago as a venue to the 2011 program. Without any resolution clearly in sight, the ASA Council voted unanimously to move the meeting from Chicago because ASA cannot guarantee that the facilities and environment necessary for our scholarly deliberations will be available.
The Chicago Tribune had a story on this decision on the front page of its business section Friday. While the ASA email was somewhat coy about the reason why the Chicago was not an acceptable site, the newspaper article has the more complete story:
More than 5,000 people were expected to attend the conference at the Hilton Chicago and Palmer House Hilton.
The association’s decision came one day before a one-day strike Thursday by workers at the Palmer House Hilton — members of Unite Here Local 1 whose contracts expired in August 2009.
While the association said the hotels pledged to be able to accommodate the conference, “our members have been concerned that we meet in hotels where workers are treated properly in terms of wages and other working conditions,” Hillsman said.
It sounds like there are some widespread issues between workers and Hilton.
It is too bad this happened as I was looking forward to having the conference be close to home this year. And now the wait is on to see where the conference will actually be held…