America’s Center vs. Labor: Exit Surveys and Other Documents

After listening to the CVC-America’s Center vs. Labor battle rage all week, mainly on The Charlie Brennan Show, I decided to pull out my file containing documents I used to report and write my May, 2007, cover story, "Bad Blood," which chronicles the conflict in-depth. Among other things, the file contains a number of exit surveys (1, 2, 3) filled out by convention planners. Judging from the chatter on the radio, that’s what the people want to see.

You can now get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the back-and-forth between the unions and the convention center, as well as the exit surveys I obtained.

-- Here you’ll find an internal document prepared by the labor-relations manager at America’s Center in late 2006 that was used as a starting point for discussions between the CVC and the three audiovisual unions.

--Next is a March 8, 2007, letter from CVC chairman Dan Dierdorf that alerts convention center employees that "a conversation" with labor is imminent.

--The following day, Dierdorf and Ratcliffe provided union business reps with this position paper. Attached to the document are two examples of letters from disgruntled convention customers.

--The unions fired off this response to the CVC on April 6, 2007.

I got working on the story shortly afterward, and made a sunshine request for exit surveys. You can see my back-and-forth with the CVC’s VP for human resources, Leo Ming, by clicking here.

The CVC initially wanted to charge me $7,500 to $10,000 for the documents. But I wrangled a little and eventually narrowed my request, in the end asking for surveys filled out by 27 groups I knew (from Internet research) had held meetings at America’s Center.

The CVC complied – and furnished me the documents gratis. But it only included nine exit surveys.

Ming explained that a private firm conducts the surveys for the CVC, and that not all event planners complete them. Ming told me the CVC doesn’t chase after the planners who don’t bother to respond.

--The three PDF documents below contain the nine exit surveys I received (with some information redacted by the CVC).


Our online copy of “Bad Blood” also contains some interesting comments, including one from a woman who she says she is a meeting planner who has written off St. Louis, and a response from the IATSE business rep, William Watkins.

-Kristen Hinman