VII. General Guidelines on Contracts and Biddable Work
Oxford University Press publishes the journal, promotes and markets the journal, handles institutional and non-member individual subscriptions, handles requests for reprint and duplication rights, and subscription fulfillment for members. At the 2018 Annual Meeting, the Board of Directors approved that, moving forward, Oxford University Press assumes the copy/production editing and that any new editors-in-chief appointed will decide at time of appointment whether they will have an in-house managing editor or use a managing editor provided by the publisher. On February 19, 2020, the Society changed from owning the copyright to the journal to a License to Publish (Exclusive Licensing). Authors grant SSSP the rights instead of the authors signing over their copyrights to SSSP. The Board of Directors, in consultation with the Budget, Finance and Audit Committee determines the subscription price for the journal. Social Problems welcomes manuscript submissions from SSSP members as well as non-members. The terms of the contract between the Society and Oxford University Press are subject to negotiation and renewal. Our second contract is in effect from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2024. The contract will automatically renew for successive 5-year periods, unless terminated by either party giving the other at least eighteen months’ prior written notice of termination, with termination to be effective at the end of the initial term or a renewal term (as relevant).
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 and software 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 the Administrative Officer in arranging visits with hotel sales personnel. Since 2004, the Society has worked 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 HelmsBriscoe 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 the Administrative Officer identify their top three choices, and the Administrative Officer supplies the sales personnel with a preferred contract type, including concession items. Hotels are asked to send 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 Society will select a hotel on the basis of the criteria listed below and make every effort to select a unionized property for the annual meeting. It will select a non-union property only if a union property is not available or if the Board of Directors, in consultation with the Executive and Administrative Officers, determines that the selection of a union property severely harms the Society financially and/or undermines its ability to recruit and retain members.
Factors considered, in addition to a strong preference for a union property:
Consider the company’s or corporation’s record of corporate social responsibility, which includes their record on human rights; environmental record/initiatives; and Environmental, Social, and Governance principles; and whether their corporate benchmarking includes support of Sustainable Development Goals
Nondiscriminatory with regard to race, ethnicity, sex, sexual preference, religion, national origin, or physical disability
Conformity to the Americans with Disabilities Act: reserve 5 accessible guest rooms (3 rooms with 2 beds and 2 rooms with a king bed). Three rooms must have a roll-in shower (2 rooms with 2 beds and 1 room with a king bed).
No history of union-busting activities or poor treatment of employees, and, if unionized, not on a boycott or “risk of dispute” list
Adequate meeting space, including break-out rooms for sessions and receptions, and communal areas where members can sit and chat
Easy access to public transportation
Close proximity (non-airport hotels) to the American Sociological Association’s (ASA) conference hotel(s). If transportation is required between ASA and SSSP properties, hotel incurs cost.
Low hotel room cost for attendees
Food and beverage minimum
Proximity to wide-range, including affordable, places to eat
Concessions and amenities offered by the hotel
Professional and easy-to-work-with hotel staff
Desirable characteristics of a hotel contract
- Firm competitive flat rate quoted for the year of the annual meeting. The majority of reservations (70%) will be for two bedded rooms.
- The following clauses must be included in Group’s Agreement:
"Hotel will not offer room rates on Hotel’s website below the conference rate assigned to Group for the days of the conference. Group’s rate will never exceed 95% of the lowest advertised American Sociological Association’s standard single/double rate, regardless of the confirmed rate. Guest room rates will be offered by Hotel three (3) days prior and two (2) days after the meeting dates, subject to availability of guest rooms at the time of reservation.”
- Reservations/Cut-Off Date: Hotel will continue to accept reservations from Group’s attendees after the cut-off date at our group rate based on availability.
- Complimentary room will be accorded to Group for every forty (40) paid rooms occupied each night of Group’s stay
- Complimentary Presidential Suite for Group’s President for seven nights
- Concession Items:
- Complimentary wireless internet access in guestrooms and meeting space
- 20 staff rooms at a reduced rate of 50% off group rate
- 10 suite upgrades to 1-bedroom suites at staff rate
- 20 complimentary welcome amenities [not to exceed $50 each exclusive of service charge and sales tax]
- 20% discount on food and beverage menu pricing
- Honor catering prices the year contract is signed over future meeting date
- Freshly brewed coffee (regular/decaffeinated) and herbal tea at $50 per gallon, plus service charge and sales tax
- Complimentary rooms for a total of 6 room nights for pre-program planning visit, upon availability. Unused pre-program planning visit rooms will be credited toward the master bill.
- Complimentary two-night hotel stay certificate at hotel to be used in a raffle. All proceeds from raffle will benefit a not-for-profit organization in the host city.
- 35% audio-visual discount (in-house company)
- No penalty to use an outside audio-visual provider
- Complimentary usage of the health club and swimming pool
- Complimentary self and valet parking for attendees
- Receive 5% off the entire master bill
- Quad meeting manager points with no maximum
- Up to 15 complimentary 6x10 exhibit tables, podiums, and easels for each meeting room
- Complimentary receiving/handling of packages if received no sooner than 72 hours prior to arrival date of meeting
- If Hotel does not have an all-gender restroom, Hotel must designate one of the restrooms near Group’s function space as all-gender over Group’s contract dates
- Provide transportation to/from Hotel for the President, Executive Officer, and Administrative Officer & Meeting Manager
- Reserve 5 accessible guest rooms for Group (3 rooms with 2 beds and 2 rooms with a king bed). Three rooms must have a roll-in shower.
- Meeting Facility Charge: Meeting and function space will be provided on a complimentary basis. In the event that Group’s guest room block is not filled or Group’s scheduled food and beverage events change, additional meeting room rental charges will apply based on the following scale:
Total Rooms Used
$2,000 (one-time charge)
$4,000 (one-time charge)
$5,000 (one-time charge)
- Food and Beverage Minimum: Group is committed to a minimum cost to include Food, Beverage and Set-up fees of $38,000, 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: Group is free to get competitive bids from audio-visual suppliers in the event Group 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 Group to Hotel, Group may reduce the room block by 20%, prior to the 60-day prior date of arrival. Upon written notice from Group to Hotel, Group 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.
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 at the Hotel, and Group therefore withholds, delays or cancels performance, it shall have no liability arising from such actions, provided that 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 Group nor its members shall have any future obligation under this Agreement, and any deposits or other payments made to Hotel by Group or its members to reserve rooms or other space for use, and/or for services to be provided, shall promptly be refunded to Group or its members.
Notification of Labor Dispute
Hotel agrees to notify Group in writing within ten (10) days after it becomes aware of any labor relations dispute involving 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 Agreement, 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 Hotel or Group may cancel this Agreement for any reason other than a termination for cause. The 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: $75,000
- In addition, all deposits received to that date will be returned to Group, or applied to a cancellation fee. No reduction or cancellation is permitted for the purpose of holding the same meeting in another location or facility. In such event, the room revenue for the entire block as of the Agreement date, along with a one hundred percent (100%) of the estimated Food & Beverage Minimum is due and payable as liquidated damages.
- Condition of Hotel Clause: Hotel represents and warrants that the Hotel facilities will be in a condition of a 3-4 Star Hotel over the Group’s meeting dates. Hotel shall promptly notify the Group if, for any reason, the Hotel’s facilities may not be in such condition. This right of cancellation shall be in addition to any other legal or equitable rights or remedies the Group may have. The Group shall have the right to terminate this Agreement at any time without liability, payment or penalty upon written notice to the Hotel if the Hotel facilities are not in such 3-4 Star condition continuously over the Group’s meeting dates. This right of cancellation shall be in addition to any other legal or equitable rights or remedies the Group may have.
- Construction/Remodel/Renovation Clause: In the event that the Hotel and/or its immediate surroundings may be damaged, undergo any major construction, renovation, or remodeling during the meeting dates, or otherwise be affected in such a manner that the Group cannot make use of some/all of the facilities and/or that would affect the Group’s Room Block, services or function space, with the same degree of comfort the Group could expect absent these conditions, then the Hotel shall promptly notify the Group of:
- Planned scope of project
- Schedule for commencement and completion
- Anticipated impact project will have on areas to be utilized by Group
- Suggested alternate space/sleeping rooms to minimize the noise
- Hotel's plans for minimizing impact of project on Group
The Group shall have the right to cancel this Agreement without liability upon written notice to the Hotel if, in the Group’s reasonable judgment, such construction or renovation is likely to unreasonably affect the use of the facilities or the quality of service to be provided under this Agreement.
- Change of Ownership Clause: The Hotel shall promptly notify Group in writing if there is a change in ownership or management, which operates the Hotel prior to the meeting Group shall have the right to terminate this Agreement without liability upon written notice.
In the event of a sale, change in management or the flag of the property, the new owner will be required, as a term of condition of the sale, to honor the Agreement for Group and assume all obligations and liabilities under this Agreement in a writing acceptable, and pre-approved by Group.
- 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). The 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 Hotel. In addition, all deposits Group has provided to Hotel shall be promptly returned to the Group.
- Rebooking Clause: In the event Group cancels the Conference for reasons not otherwise permitted in this Agreement, 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 within 12 months of the cancellation date.
- Chemical Sensitivities Clause: Hotel shall be attentive to Group’s request regarding chemical sensitivities [perfume, cologne, aftershave, air fresheners, hand soaps, paint, wall coverings, new carpet, smoke and cigarette smoke, etc.]. Hotel shall make every effort in keeping Group’s guests comfortable during their stay.
- Signage in Public Space Clause: Hotel shall allow Group to display directional signs that are professionally printed in Hotel lobby and in Group’s meeting space.
- Economic Conditions: Should there be a significant decline in the economy one year prior to the Group’s arrival causing the sleeping room rates and overall pricing at the Hotel to be lower that the contracted rates and estimated revenues for additional items such as food and beverage, meeting room rental, and other ancillary revenues ratified herein, the parties agree to discuss in good faith a revision of attendance numbers, the Room Block guarantee, attrition allowance, meeting space, food and beverage guarantees and other relevant pricing for ancillary services as applicable without liability to Group. Both Hotel and Group further agree that the room rates will not be any higher than $(contracted room rate) agreed upon in this Agreement.
The benchmark for determining a significant decline in the economy and the Hotel’s pricing for items stated above, shall be determined by one or more of the following methods: review of the economic indicators published by unbiased experts on The Conference Board; search of the Hotel’s primary competitive set to illustrate the Group’s contracted rates and ancillary pricing are well above the market average; review of the Hotel’s definite business booked three years or less, over the same 3 month time frame in the same year, demonstrating Group’s contracted rates and ancillary pricing is significantly higher than the other business booked at the Hotel for the same time period.
- Non-Discrimination Clause: The Group has the option to terminate this Agreement without liability or payment if Hotel Name’s corporate policy or the policy of Hotel Company permits discrimination by the Hotel against individuals based upon their race/ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity or engaging in same-sex marriage.
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.
From 2008-2012, the Society used outside audio-visual companies because they offered the lowest bid. In 2012, the Board of Directors approved the Administrative Office to consider a multi-year contract for audio-visual services. In addition, the Administrative Office is to explore cost-effective measures to continue recording the Presidential Address. In 2013, the Society used the in-house audio-visual company because they offered the lowest bid and did not record the Presidential Address due to high cost. In 2014, the Board of Directors and Meeting Manager discussed the option of negotiating a multi-year contract for audio-visual services and that the Meeting Manager has the option to pursue a minimum of three audio-visual bids.
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, if not provided by the conference hotel. This adds to the cost of the annual meeting, if the charge is not covered.