VII. General Guidelines on Contracts and Biddable Work
The University of California Press publishes the journal, handles institutional and non-member individual subscriptions, handles requests for reprint and duplication rights, and subscription fulfillment for members. The Society continues to own the copyright to the journal. The terms of the contract between the Society and the University of California Press are subject to negotiation and renewal. Our contracts run for three to five years and have preserved the right of the Society to determine the subscription price for the journal. Initially, the award was made to the University of California Press on the basis of a competitive bidding process. Before the contract expired, a negotiating team composed of the Chair of the Editorial and Publications Committee, the Treasurer, and the Executive Officer solicited competitive bids. Two private publishers submitted bids for handling these services with the Society continuing to hold the copyright. After considerable review the contract was awarded again to the University of California Press. A key issue at that time was the desire of the Society to maintain the right to set the subscription price – particularly for institutional subscriptions. The work of seeking competitive bids for the business office of the journal requires preparing specifications for the work sought and contract provisions that the Society wants to maintain. If competitive bidding is desired, work to seek competitive bids, needs to start at least two years in advance of contract renewal. The current contract automatically renews for a five-year period, if notice is not given twelve months preceding the date of expiration. The current contract expires on December 31, 2014.
The Administrative Office has developed a relationship with a local printing company to provide printing and mailing services for the Society’s operations.
If the Society can receive a favorable discount on the purchase of equipment through the host institution, the Society takes advantage of this option. If such options are not available, the Society seeks competitive pricing on the open market.
Hotel contracts are negotiated at least two and a half years in advance of the Annual Meeting. In the past, the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau assisted the Executive Officer and Administrative Officer in arranging visits with hotel sales personnel. Since 2004, the Society has been working with HelmsBriscoe. There is no contractual obligation in working with HelmsBriscoe; they serve as an administrative arm to the Society. They are compensated for their services with a placement fee directly by the hotel. The Administrative Officer provides them with our Annual Meeting requirements. These details include meeting room needs, food and beverage needs, and sleeping room forecast. The site visit usually takes two days. At the conclusion of the site visit, the Executive Officer and Administrative Officer identify their top three choices and the Administrative Officer supplies the sales personnel with a preferred contract type, including concession items. We ask hotels to prepare a written contract by late November or early December. Once received, the Administrative Officer, in consultation with the Executive Officer, works with each hotel to ensure the Society is getting the best contract, prepares a comparison report, and circulates it to the Board of Directors for voting with a goal of having a signed contract before the end of the year.
The following factors must be considered when selecting a hotel
- Low hotel room cost for attendees
- Unionization of hotel employees
- Close proximity to the American Sociological Association’s (ASA) conference hotel/s. Try to avoid transporting members between SSSP and ASA properties. If transportation is required, the hotel must incur costs.
- Conformity to the American Disabilities Act: reserve 5 accessible guest rooms for group. Three of these rooms must have a roll-in shower (3 rooms with 2 beds and 2 rooms with a king bed).
- Nondiscriminatory with regard to race, ethnicity, sex, sexual preference, religion, national origin, or physical disability
Desirable characteristics of a hotel contract
- Firm competitive rates quoted for the year of the Annual Meeting. The majority of reservations (70%) will be for two bedded rooms. Add the following clause to the contract, “The Hotel will not offer room rates on the Hotel’s web site below the conference rate assigned to SSSP for the days of the conference. In addition, our rate will never exceed 95% of the lowest advertised American Sociological Association’s standard single/double rate, regardless of the stated rate.” The guest room rates will be offered by Hotel three (3) days prior and three (3) days after the meeting dates, subject to availability of guest rooms at the time of reservation.
- Reservations/Cut-Off Date: The Hotel will continue to accept reservations from our attendees after the cut-off date at our group rate based on availability.
- Complimentary rooms will be accorded to our group for every forty (40) paid rooms occupied each night of our stay
- Complimentary Presidential suite for our President
- Concessions: Complimentary internet access in guestrooms and meeting space; 20 staff rooms at a reduced rate of 50% off group rate; 5 suite upgrades; 5 club upgrades; 20 complimentary welcome amenities; 20% discount on food and beverage menu pricing; freshly brewed coffee (regular/decaffeinated) and herbal tea at $50 per gallon; complimentary rooms for a total of 6 room nights for pre-program planning visit, unused pre-program planning visit rooms will be credited toward the master bill; complimentary two-night hotel stay certificate at hotel; complimentary usage of the health club; complimentary self and valet parking for attendees; receive 3% off the entire master bill; double meeting manager points; up to 15 complimentary 6x10 exhibit tables; complimentary receiving/handling of packages if received no sooner than 72 hours prior to arrival date of meeting; if the hotel does not have a gender neutral restroom, the hotel must designate one of the restrooms near our function space as gender neutral over our contract dates.
- Meeting Facility Charge: Meeting and function space will be provided on a complimentary basis. In the event that our guest room block is not filled or our scheduled food and beverage events change, additional meeting room rental charges will apply on the following scale:
|Total Rooms Used||Total Charge|
|60-69%||$2,000 (one time charge)|
|50-59%||$4,000 (one time charge)|
|Below 50%||$5,000 (one time charge)|
- Food and Beverage Minimum: The Society is committed to a minimum cost to include Food, Beverage and Set-up fees of $30,000, excluding gratuity and sales tax.
- Function Space Cancellation: In the event of a cancellation for any reason, the meeting/function space being held will have no rental charges applied on the canceled space as liquidated damages.
- Audio-Visual: The Society is free to get competitive bids from audio-visual suppliers in the event we cannot secure a contract with the in-house audio-visual company. The in-house audio-visual company will discount their rental/labor prices by no less than 35%.
- Guest Room Attrition: Upon written notice from SSSP to the Hotel, SSSP may reduce the room block by 20%, prior to the 60 day prior date of arrival. Upon written notice from SSSP to the Hotel, SSSP may reduce the room block by an additional 10% between the 60 day prior date of arrival and the 45 day prior date of arrival.
- Labor Clauses:
Excused Non-Performance due to Labor Dispute
Notwithstanding anything in this Agreement to the contrary, if performance hereunder would foreseeably involve Group in or subject it to the effects of a boycott, strike, lockout, picketing or other labor dispute and Group therefore withholds, delays or cancels performance, it shall have no liability there from, provided that the Group may not withhold, delay or cancel performance based upon a labor dispute involving its own employees. If a Cancellation occurs under this Section, neither the Group nor its members shall have any future obligation under this Agreement, and any deposits or other payments made to the Hotel by the Group or its members to reserve rooms or other space for use, and/or for services to be provided, shall promptly be refunded to the Group or its members. This Section shall supersede all other provisions of this Agreement.
Notification of Labor Dispute
Hotel agrees to notify the Group in writing within ten (10) days after it becomes aware of any labor relations dispute involving the Hotel and its employees including, but not limited to, union picketing, the filing of an Unfair Labor Practice charge by a union, the expiration of a negotiated labor contract, an existing or impending strike or lockout or any other matter which could reasonably be construed as a labor-management relations dispute.
- Cancellation Clause: Either the Hotel or Group may cancel this contract for any reason other than a termination for cause; canceling party agrees to provide written notice to the other party accompanied by a liquidated damage. Payment as indicated in the following scale:
From date of signature to 1/15 of the year before the annual meeting: $25,000
From 1/16 of the year before the annual meeting to 1/15 of the year of the annual meeting: $50,000
From 1/16 of the year of the annual meeting to the annual meeting: $100,000
In addition, all deposits received to that date will be returned to SSSP.
- Performance Clause: Group’s performance of this Agreement is expressly conditioned upon the availability and execution of a contract between a hotel and the American Sociological Association (ASA). Group must hold its national convention in the same city as the ASA’s national convention. If for any reason beyond the control of Group, the ASA cancels or changes dates for their Annual Convention, Group in its sole discretion, may terminate this Agreement without liability described in the Cancellation Policy, upon written notice to Group.
- Rebooking Clause: In the event the Group cancels this event, one hundred percent (100%) of collected cancellation fees may be credited towards a future meeting of equal or greater size that is re-booked and takes place at Hotel.
Contracts for the above services are negotiated the year of the Annual Meeting. Competitive bids are sought with the Meeting Manager and the Administrative Officer working in cooperation with the Local Arrangements Chair, if needed. The lowest bid that meets our requirements is awarded.
Since 2008, the Society has used outside audio-visual companies because they offered the lowest bid. In 2012, the Board of Directors approved the Administrative Office to consider multi-year contracts for audio-visual services. In addition, the Administrative Office is to explore cost-effective measures to continue recording the Society’s Presidential Address.
The Board of Directors voted in 2003 to hold the awards banquet at the conference hotel. This is very advantageous to the Society. It allows the Executive Officer and the Administrative Officer to negotiate a more favorable hotel contract. When the conference site is beyond walking distance to the American Sociological Association’s conference hotel, the Board of Directors may authorize a shuttle service. This adds to the cost of the Annual Meeting, if the charge is not covered by the conference hotel.
The Society receives free tickets (one complimentary ticket for every 40 tickets booked) when members use the contracted travel agency when making airline reservations. In addition, the Administrative Officer negotiates a discounted car rental contract. It should be noted that these services have not been widely used by our members in the past.