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Mayor Rahm Emanuel: Allscripts to add 300 jobs in Chicago

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced thAllscripts leading global provider Electronic Health Records will  be adding approximately 300 new jobs Chicago

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that Allscripts, leading global provider of Electronic Health Records will be adding approximately 300 new jobs in Chicago during news conference with Allscripts Chief Executive Officer Glen Tullman, Tuesday, June 28, 2011. | John H. White~Sun-Times

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Updated: June 30, 2011 9:51AM

Chalk up another 300 jobs for Chicago under Mayor Rahm Emanuel — and another trade show for McCormick Place even as cost-saving work rule changes remain in legal limbo.

Chicago-based Allscripts, the leading global provider of electronic health records and information systems to hospitals and doctors, will hire 300 more employees by the end of 2012 and build an “innovation center” in 14,000 square feet of additional space at the Merchandise Mart.

The company will also hold its annual users conference at McCormick Place in 2012, 2013 and 2014, drawing at least 5,000 Allscripts customers to Chicago.

Allscripts’ commitment to McCormick Place comes at a time when the future is uncertain for union concessions designed to help stop trade shows from deserting Chicago.

Last week, a federal judge threw out the work rule changes imposed by the Illinois General Assembly on grounds that they should have been negotiated at the bargaining table.

That prompted Emanuel, Gov. Quinn and legislative leaders to co-sign a letter to exhibitors promising to do whatever it takes to preserve the changes — even if it means making the tradespeople who work at McCormick Place public employees.

That would force taxpayers to inherit another mountain of pension liabilities.

At a news conference Tuesday at Allscripts’ corporate headquarters, Emanuel underscored his commitment to keep alive the savings that have prompted a wave of new trade show commitments to Chicago.

“We will stay competitive economically. We are not gonna price ourselves out of the business of bringing conventions to the city of Chicago,” said Emanuel, who proposed the unprecedented letter that “put all our names on the line.”

“Any one of these shows can go to any other city. We have advantages on hotels. We have advantages on transportation. But, they don’t trump costs at McCormick Place. And I will not let that stand in the way. ... Failure is not an option.”

What happens if the McCormick Place appeal fails?

“We will work out the details,” the mayor said. “Hopefully, this will work itself out in the legal area to give the companies that made the choice two years ago to pick Chicago the certainty they need. But, if it doesn’t work itself out legally, we’ll [do it] legislatively — and I’ll throw my political capital, whatever I’ve got left [behind it] — to make sure Chicago and Illinois stays competitive economically.”

Allscripts CEO Glenn Tullman said the unprecedented letter co-signed by Emanuel convinced him to sign on the dotted line.

“When we saw the leadership of the state and the city all come together to throw their support behind this, we understood the kind of commitment that was there,” said Tullman, whose brother rented an apartment to Emanuel during the notorious residency challenge.

“For McCormick Place to continue to be viable, these kinds of changes need to be made. So, we really believe that the right thing will happen and that everyone ultimately [will] get [in] line behind that.”

Like a football team hitting the field with a scripted first series of plays, Emanuel came into office with a definite game plan and a few job-creating announcements in his back pocket.

First, it was GE Capital with a promise to add 1,000 new jobs by the end of 2012 with no promise of a city subsidy. That was followed by 1,300 jobs promised by the mega-airline created by the United-Continental merger and 400 more jobs promised by Motorola.

“This brings us to — not that I’m counting — but 3,000 jobs in 40 days,” said Emanuel, who likes to win and loves keeping score.

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