“THERE’S GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS. WHICH DO YOU WANT TO HEAR FIRST?”


PART I

That’s what the doctor asked in a phone call not too long ago.

“Tell me the good news”, the optimist in me said.

“You’ve got two days to live” said the doctor.

“Jeeze, I said. “If that’s the good news, what’s the bad news?”

“I was supposed to tell you yesterday”, replied the doctor somewhat apologetically.

author of the joke unknown


THE GOOD NEWS is that starting October 1, 2019 most Jack Security Officers will see about a $2 an hour bump in their paychecks.

THE BAD NEWS is that it tops out in the 5th year @ $15.25 an hour. After 5 years you get a $500 bonus on your anniversay. And it’s a 5-year contract, which amounts to 25 cents per hour before taxes.


It COULD have been better!

It SHOULD have been better!

It WOULD have been better if we had a better union.

It WOULD have been better if we didn’t even have a union.


WE NEED A NEW UNION.

One that will fight for US, not JACK.

One that has INTEGRITY.

One in which we can be PROUD.


Let me explain, step by step, why I think we are not getting our money’s worth from SPFPA.

1 – The SPFPA in the person of Mark Crawford, Vice President Region 1 Security Police Fire Professionals of America negotiated the first contract with Horseshoe Casino, which later came known as Jack Cleveland.

By most accounts it was a terrible contract. We got “Senority”, and they got everything else. Starting wage, $12. Five year wage, $13.50. A labor friend of mine called it a certain type of sandwich but without the bread. Another said that Revlon didn’t have enough lipstick to make it presentable.

2 – I was hired in January of 2015. So I’ve been here 4 years and 10 months. Until I became president this year I had never seen nor heard from any representative of SPFPA. Not once. I cannot think of anything that the SPFPA did for me or any of our officers. No one else whom I know can think of anything either. Oh wait…once a year I was asked if I wanted a turkey or a ham. I said, “I’m vegan”, can I have a gift card? Answer, NO!!. So I gave mine to a friend. He had to pick it up in the Tower City parking lot at an ungodly hour from the back of a truck (were they HOT?).


3 – I was notified by mail that I had won the election and again didn’t see or hear from anyone. No orientation. No welcome packet, no anything. Just gave me the keys. That was it. My wife bought our calling cards and a domain for our website and we prepared for our new contract. Mark Crawford finally contacted me and asked what dates I was available for negotiations. I said, “any date, any time, any place”. He set up 4 days, August 27th through the 30th, and two dates in September if necessary.


4 – As negotiations neared I e-mailed Crawford a synopsis of what our Union wanted. I also offered to meet him the day before so we could make sure we were on the same page. He brought his wife with him and stayed at a hotel within walking distance to Jack Casino. The following is a transcript of said e-mail.

Aug 14 @ 6:09 PM

Mark,

All is well in Cleveland. Our beloved Tribe has clawed its way back, and in case you haven’t heard, the Browns are going to the Super Bowl.

I’m enclosing a link to our website. Check it out. You’ll get a clear feel for what [we] are looking for in our new contract. In order of importance our three most significant issues are: MONEY, M-O-N-E-Y and more MONEY!!!

Our current pay structure is totally and completely out of whack with any semblance of normalcy. It is embarrassing to even say what it is. IT MUST BE ADDRESSED IN A SERIOUS WAY.

There are also at least six other grossly unfair conditions that also must be addressed.

For example, if a security officer is sick and has to miss a day of work, he is not only pointed, which can lead to termination, he is also forced to use his PTO.

For example, if a security officer follows every step of an ID check, and gets a ‘green’ on Veridocs, he or she may still lose their job if said individual is a minor.

More to follow.

I suggest that you and I get together the day or night before negotiations so we can present a united front on Tuesday, August 27th. I will meet you at a time and place convenient to you.

The following is a lineup of proposed delegations for the four scheduled sessions…


5 – Mark Crawford was unable to meet with me on Monday. He and his wife had other plans. He told me to come to his hotel at 8:00 a.m. for breakfast and then we would go to Jack Casino and meet our other reps and then begin negotiations at 10:00 a.m. His hotel wouldn’t let me join him for breakfast as they only allow guests staying at the hotel in the dining room. So I met Mark when everyone else did, when we all arrived at Jack Casino.

I was underwhelmed. He was dour, pessimistic, in no way uplifting. Dress: non-business, casual. Unprofessional no matter how you looked at it. We talked money. I said after 1 year $14, then $15, $16, $17, and $18. He said I was unrealistic and should expect 2%, 2%, 2%, 2% 2%, which translates to $12.25 to start, $14.00 after 5 years.

I learned quickly that I couldn’t get a straight answer out of Mark. Will the Union be paying us for our time-loss?

Well, yes and no.

The first three days were a complete waste of time. All we did was go through the contract line by line, word for word, punctuation mark by punctuation mark. BULLETIN!!! BULLETIN!!! There’s a typo on page 24, chapter 16, verse 3(a). The only substantive issues discussed were those that only had importance for the International Union and had no real importance for Jack Security Officers at the local level.

Looking back, I wish he had fought as hard for us as he did for David Hickey, International SPFPA Union President and the legal team back in Michigan. I wish he had stuck up just once for us. I wish he hadn’t completely thrown me under the bus as he did just before I presented our wage rate proposal because he was too embarrassed to do it himself.

The whole week seemed to be an all expense paid trip for Mark and his wife to the Rock & Roll Capital of the World. We were a nuisance that had to be endured.

Finally, the big day arrived. Friday. The last scheduled day. Actually, the last day, because mysteriously the two open days in September suddenly vanished because Mark now had to be in New York. This was the last available date before the contract expired. Suddenly there was an urgency to get it done. Even a simple question like, what happens if we don’t get it done today produced nothing but hemming and hawing double-talk. Like I said, I never could get a straight answer out of Mark. The goal posts were in perpetual motion and Mark was the immovable object.

Mark introduces me to the five member negotiating team for Jack Casino including one lawyer at 1:00 p.m. with words that went something like this:

‘When I was a kid looking at the Christmas catalogs I would point and say I want this and I want that. Then I’d turn the page and say oh I need one of those and I want one of these. Now, I knew in my heart I wasn’t going to get everything I asked for. I was hoping to get one or two of the things I asked for. Well, this is like that. We know we are not going to get what Steve is asking for. That’s pie in the sky. We hope you will give us something.’

Mark Crawford prefacing Steve’s presentation for higher wages to Jack’s negotiating team

I mean, why don’t you just hand it to them on a silver platter? Gift wrap it. Big bow. How embarrassing. Talk about grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory. What do you say in a situation like that when you get your legs cut off right in front of you?

I did the very best I could.

I laid out cogent arguments from the nation as a whole to our own Cleveland micro-economy for a respectable, living wage for the professionals we are.

But we all know you can’t unring a bell, or put the toothpaste back into the tube. The well was poisoned when Mark Crawford openly an unabashedly became the sixth member of Jack Casino’s negotiating team. It was six against one. Nobody can beat those odds in a street fight.

THIS STORY ISN’T OVER YET. TO BE CONTINUED…


REMEMBER ME


Written by Officer Steve Davies





Panel 1

STATE OF THE UNION

STATE OF THE UNION

10 April 2019

Thank you very much for your vote of confidence.

I asked for your vote and you gave it.

Now I promise you to fight hard and long to get us what we deserve: to be treated fairly and justly and with all due respect, by our employer, Jack Entertainment.

Between 1989 and 2009, while every surrounding state was building casinos, Ohio voters said, No, No, No and No!!!!  Finally, in November of 2009, 53% of Ohioans said yes to a Constitutional Amendment to allow casinos in the four largest cities (Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus and Toledo).

On May, 14th 2012, Horseshoe Cleveland (20 % Caesars, 80 % Dan Gilbert) opened in the iconic Higbee Building at Tower City Center in downtown Cleveland. 

On October 1st 2014, Security Officers certified a 5-year contract to have the SPFPA (International Union, Security, Police and Fire Fighters of America) represent them to negotiate rates of pay, wages, benefits, hours of work and other conditions of employment.

In 2015 Mr. Gilbert purchased Caesar’s 20% stake, and rebranded in 2016 as Jack Cleveland Casino.

Which brings us to now.

Our contract ends at midnight, September 30th 2019. 

I notified Director Prebynski and our HR department that we are ready, willing and able to begin negotiations at their convenience.

The actual negotiations will be done by Marc Crawford, International Vice President, Region 1.

I will be present at all times.  When an agreement is made I will present it to you for ratification.

Now is the time, and this website is the vehicle, for you to present any and all ideas that you wish to include or exclude from the new agreement. 

The foundation from which we begin and upon which we will build is the existing unanimous agreement from all our members, that our monetary and benefit package compensation needs to be commensurate with the security duties and responsibilities that we carry out on a daily basis that are critical to the success of Jack Cleveland Casino.

Thank you.

Officer Steve Davies-Tight, President, Local Union 141

Let the interaction begin.

LET US ALL CONNECT!



Panel 2

SHOW ME THE MONEY

 

SHOW ME THE MONEY


12 April 2019

An amateur engages in an activity for the fun of it. It’s enjoyable. The bowling team from work, the week-end golfer, pick-up games at the ‘Y’ are all examples of amateurs loving what they do.

Professionals, on the other hand, get paid for what they do. They may or may not like the job. It isn’t necessarily fun. It’s WORK.

YOU are a PROFESSIONAL. You belong to a UNION of PROFESSIONALS.

Your union contract expires in FIVE MONTHS. Jack Cleveland Casino is not going to give you 20$-25$ an hour because it’s the right thing to do, or because they like you, or because you need it to live.

These next FIVE MONTHS will determine your worth. The past is in the past. The future has already begun from where you stand right now, at this moment. The ball is in your court.

Cut corners on Jack? Jack will cut corners on you.

Skate by and Jack will skate by you. Won’t even notice you.

Don’t care? Well, then Jack won’t care about you.

BUT, if you not only DO YOUR JOB, but you do it really well, in the most professional way expected; if you go the extra mile, like all real professionals do, if you S-H-I-N-E then that light will make Jack take notice and pressure Jack to keep you on their team of winners.

No one wants an ALL-PRO to walk; no one wants their SUPER STAR taking their talents to South Beach. Like I said, the ball is in your court. What are you going to do? CRY?…WHINE?…BEG?…or are you going to roll up your sleeves and show everyone what makes you special?

Unfortunately, Jack is not in the position to offer fifty-three individualized contracts. They will offer identical contracts to fifty-three individuals.

WE’RE A TEAM. Not unlike the New England Patriots, for example. All fifty-three of us must buy into this or it won’t work. All fifty-three of us must do our jobs as the professionals we are.

We have FIVE MONTHS to IMPRESS Jack Cleveland Casino with our PROFESSIONALISM! This isn’t like going on a diet and waiting till the last week before the family reunion to lose fifty pounds. It starts NOW. There will be people watching.

BE your BEST at all times.

WE WANT TO WIN.

WE WANT TO WIN EVERY GAME.

WE WANT TO LEAVE IT ALL ON THE FIELD.

ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL.

LET’S DO IT.

SEE…

When everybody does their job and everybody does it well, the job is easier. It’s almost fun.

And the coaches are thrilled and Garry is thrilled and Marc is ecstatic.

And that is how we are going to get paid what we’re worth. And no one will begrudge it, because we won’t be hiding our worth or conserving our worth or sitting on our worth.

Our worthiness is absolutely necessary for Jack’s survival.

So when I look you in the eye:

EVERYONE.

EVERY OFFICER.

EVERY SHIFT.

And say “SHOW ME THE MONEY”, you’ll know that what I’m really saying is:

YOU’RE A PROFESSIONAL.

ACT IT.

LOOK IT.

EVERY MINUTE YOU’RE IN THE BUILDING.

THIS IS THE WAY:

With PRIDE in your performance and PRIDE in being a member of the team is the WAY to WIN.

Thank you.

Officer Steve Davies-Tight, President, Local Union 141

BE SURE to follow this website| blog to receive notifications of new posts.

SLDT






Panel 3

REMEMBER WHEN IT WAS FUN TO COME TO WORK?

REMEMBER WHEN…?


14 April 2019

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After working security for the Indians and the Browns, when offered a full-time gig at Horseshoe in December of 2014 I have to admit I was pretty excited.

My only question was,”WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?”

This job, at this particular time in my life, is convenient, I enjoy it and I’m told now and then that I’m pretty good at it.

The toughest time for me was when we went on a hiring freeze and you never knew if you’d get a break or not. Being on our feet all day, as we security people generally are, it takes its toll when you don’t see an end to the rough patch in sight and there’s nothing coming from upstairs to explain what the heck it’s all about.

But if indeed Jack Cleveland Casino is off the market and if Mr. Gilbert is indeed intellectually and emotionally vested in making this casino a success, then I am once again pretty excited about the future.

REMEMBER When It Was Fun to come to work?

Believe it or not, that sentiment about the good old days was a common refrain when I went on a listening tour after being elected President of Local Union 141.

Although I focused on ‘security’ I engaged with salaried and hourly workers from every department.

I drew some conclusions:

# 1 OUR TEAM HAS Q-U-I-T.

Some team members never even tried.

One said that Dan should fire half his staff if he wants half a chance of being a half-assed casino.

# 2 Everyone is miserable.

# 3 We have no standards.

# 4 There is no accountability unless someone steals or lets in a minor.

# 5 The inmates truly run the asylum.

# 6 The inmates are empowered by Human Resources.

# 7 Morale across all departments is at an all-time low.

# 8 A coach, a coach mind you, from the depth of their discontent muttered…I wish someone in my family would die so I could get 3 days bereavement away from this hell-hole.

That coach of course didn’t mean it literally, but that’s how frustrated people are with what appears to have become the status quo at Jack.

Nobody knows the game plan or the expectations when they see people not following the rules and nothing being done about it. It’s as if the parents are gone and the kids invited all their friends over for an unchaperoned party – all hell broke loose.

But hey, that’s all in the past and this is a new day and we are going to make a new way. There is enough blame to go around; from the very top to the very bottom, no one is immune.

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# 9 Our focus must be on NOW, not what so and so did last year or yesterday.

KEEP THE FOCUS ON THE FOCUS

“The only thing that is ultimately real about our journey is what we are doing TODAY, at this moment. That’s All There Ever Is.”~ Eckhart Tolle


REALITY

Let’s start with our own department – security.

If any one of us won a big lottery, we probably wouldn’t be here the next day.

In the meanwhile, how about showing up to work according to the schedule you freely agreed to?

On time. Bright-eyed with a smile on your face and a spark in your step. With a pleasant disposition – like you did on the day you were interviewed, wanting this job and putting your best self forward. How about that?

How about for the eight hours that you are clocked in, doing the job you are assigned in the way you were trained to do it? Any questions about how you were trained? Do you forget some of the steps? Then ask – someone you trust whom you know knows.

How about nixing the gossip, the back-stabbing, the evil-eye? Do you really think that’s professional? How about if you owned the casino, would you want the people you hired to be gossiping, back-stabbing and evil-eyeing each other?

Of course you wouldn’t. No business can thrive while the workers are distracted by superfluous junk. Toss the junk. Nobody wants to be burdened with junk while they’re trying to do their best at their job.

How about having each other’s BACK?

E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E-S.

We don’t all have to be best friends, but we all are on the same team, and must respect each person’s place on that team.

TEAMMATES always TREAT other TEAMMATES with RESPECT.

Life is tough enough. How about we don’t make it tougher for the eight hours we spend with each other every day? Sound like a plan?

How about we extend that courtesy of respect to every single department?

How about implementing Dan GILBERT’S #1 ISM? They pay us to do it anyway.

EVERY CUSTOMER

EVERY DAY

NO EXCEPTIONS

NO EXCUSES

Apply Dan’s #1 ISM to our teammates, not just to the customers. To each other. TO US. Sound like a plan?

I want our entire local union 141 to buy into and live this Foundation Attitude and this Foundation Behavior. I want you to want it. It’s not enough for me to want it for you.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Yourselves, Your teammates, Your employers, Your customers –

In no particular order.

All at once.

E-V-E-R-Y-B-O-D-Y

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Thank you.

Officer Steve Davies-Tight, President, Local Union 141






Panel 4

Union President Davies Reluctantly Resigns

Dear Brothers & Sisters of Local Union 141:

Like most of you I had never seen nor heard from any SPFPA union representative until a week ago yesterday when we began contract negotiations.  I just paid my dues and kept on trucking.

Despite Mark Crawford’s utter incompetence and willful disdain your committee was able to secure a fairly decent contract offer from the Jack committee.  As I predicted earlier, like most successful negotiations, both sides yelped, “Ouch!!!”  We got less than we wanted; they paid more than they wanted.

My interactions with Mark Crawford throughout the process and with International President David Hickey these last two days have been painful to me personally and to our Security Officers as a whole.

I have been threatened with “consequences”, verbally abused and lied to.  In good conscience I cannot continue to be a part of a system of union negotiations that doesn’t negotiate in good faith on behalf of those they supposedly represent. Therefore, effective immediately, I resign as President of Local Union 141. 

David and Mark have organized a ratification vote for next Tuesday. They will forward details to all Union Members.

I, personally, support the offer.  And I will vote for it.  As I said to Stacy King, Senior VP Human Resources, “I see this as a win for our union.” 

Of course, many of you may see it differently.  Each person must decide for him or her self. Please don’t let anyone, even me, influence your vote. That’s a principle America stands for and so do I. Majority Rules.

I now will devote my time and effort to transform our department into the Mighty Team that it can be because we have Mighty Individuals. 

One for all, all for one.  Drinks for the bar!!!

Thank you very much for the honor of letting me serve you.

Sincerely,

Stephen Davies-Tight



See: LONG HISTORY OF CORRUPTION IN DAVID HINKLEY’S SPFPA UNION?