“THERE’S GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS. WHICH DO YOU WANT TO HEAR FIRST?”
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
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…
Written by Officer Steve Davies
THE CONTINUED and ONGOING INTIMIDATION TACTICS by SPFPA Union and SPFPA sympathizers will not deter me from completing my job to apprise all union members, and anyone else who shares an interest, in what actually transpired during negotiations for a new contract and how we were misrepresented by SPFPA International Union.
Although we were issued a ‘gag order’ before and during negotiations, which I personally adhered to, the negotiations were not intended to be kept secret from the members after they were over, at least that was not my intention. And Jack Cleveland Casino did not make that request.
It appears that the SPFPA folks are the ones who want to now silence the proceedings through ongoing intimidation tactics. Secret negotiations always imply possible corruption, thus transparency is always the best policy.
Before I go any further I want to be perfectly clear on two things:
First: This is not personal for me. It is business.
Yes, I take it personally when I am and/or my family is threatened on behalf of any union for any reason, but my intention to decertify SPFPA and align with a more reputable union is directly related to their demonstrated ineffectiveness and strategies malaligned with the core values of integrity, trust and respect.
No one from any union other than SPFPA has made threats to me or to my family except International SPFPA Union of America, via their attorneys, president David Hickey and anonymous SPFPA sympathizers. The red flags regarding SPFPA came directly from SPFPA.
Everyone knows me to be a hard-working man who takes care of his family. I give an honest day’s work and expect an honest day’s pay. I don’t expect any handouts. I seek no favors. I pay 2 & 1/2 hours pay every month to belong to SPFPA. I expect services for that. As a consumer I feel cheated. I am not getting my money’s worth. Nor are any of our members getting their moneys worth.
Second: I have no outstanding issues with Jack Cleveland Casino regarding the negotiations. I love my job. Jack has always done right by me. I knew when I signed up what I was getting, and they delivered. Their 5-person negotiating team was professional, courteous and straight forward. If I am not happy I can leave. No hard feelings.
Bottom line: Due to the lack luster performance and threatening nature that I witnessed as the foundation of the SPFPA business model I seek to take my business elsewhere. There should be no hard feelings. Certainly not threats, veiled threats, or intimidation, legal or otherwise.
Now, having cleared that air, it’s back to Friday, August 30th, 2019, 2:00 p.m.
Mark is anxious. He had to check out of his hotel, collect his wife and beat the rush hour weekend traffic out of Dodge.
He clearly states that this is the best we are going to get and that if we don’t accept it we are in some jeopardy. He had previously distinguished “best offer” from “last best offer”.
The difference according to Mark was that “best offer” had wiggle room and could be negotiated. “Last best offer” was final, and if we turned that down there would be jeopardy. Jack could withdraw the offer and give us less, hell, they could even bus in security guards from Detroit.
Having that ace in the whole so to speak of “best offer”, we agreed to take this proposal to our members for ratification. It was their ‘best offer”, it was not their “last best offer”, which gave us some wiggle room to negotiate for more. There can be no mistake about that. BEST. NOT LAST BEST.
Three times Mark Crawford said to me: “There is a substantive, significant, all-important distinction between BEST OFFER and LAST BEST OFFER. The former has wiggle room the latter is the end of the line.So when Jack presented their counter-proposal to our fist proposal for wage rate, and it was obvious that I wasn’t thrilled, Mark asked if I wanted to ask for their BEST OFFER, I was emphatic. “Yes”, I said, “but do not ask for their “LAST BEST OFFER”. Instead of breaking, he immediately chirped, “Is that your best offer?” The lawyer immediately chirped back, “yes”.
So when I agreed to take this offer to our members, it was with the understanding that we could come back for more discussion. There was still a chance for a LAST BEST OFFER. Or so I was led to believe.
Essentially, our own union didn’t allow us to make a counter offer to Jack’s BEST OFFER. That’s not how negotiations are supposed to work.
I was in for one more surprise before we left. I had SPFPA time loss forms already filled out and given to Mark, so that our officers could be payed by the Union in a timely manner for work that they were doing for the Union, approximately $1,200.00.
Like all successful businesses Jack Cleveland Casino strictly controls costs. Waste not, want not. Especially labor costs. And most of all, overtime. In almost five years I have never been payed a penny more than I was owed. And that’s how it should be.
Likewise, although I wear two hats, Jack and SPFPA, I have never confused the two. Jack is Jack and Union is Union. When I go to a disciplinary hearing or when an employee is exercising their Weingarten Rights, I always clock out. I never do union business on Jack’s dime. I wouldn’t think of it. Nor would Jack tolerate it.
Therefore, you can appreciate how flabbergasted I was when Mark Crawford doing his best impersonation of a Public Square panhandler, hat in hand, begged the Jack negotiating committee to pay the approximately $1,200.00 in time loss that was owed to the four Jack Security Officers who attended the four days of negotiations. And even more flabbergasted when without batting an eye the Jack spokesperson agreed.
I mean that doesn’t even pass the sniff test. There is something definitely rotten in Denmark. Who would even muster up the nerve to ask such an outrageous question? Lets just say for the the sake of the argument that I told Jack Casino that I had to go to Detroit for a week on Union Business. Oh, and by the way, I also expect Jack to pay my way and compensate me at my going rate of pay for time missed from work. Forget how horrible the optics, it reeks of quid pro quo.
A guy who for four days does nothing to benefit our local union, who for four days actually undermines said union and said local president, now has the unmitigated gall to add insult to injury by saving $1,200 to blow at this years SPFPA convention in Disney World. That’s what flabbergasted means. Blown away. And even more flabbergasted, when without batting an eye the Jack spokesperson caved, succumbed, lost their verve, almost like a hypnotic spell, a snap of the fingers without any thought and Mark Crawford was in.
I worked Saturday and got as much feed back as possible. I posted on the bulletin board that we would vote for ratification on Tuesday. But then a couple of things happened that made that vote unrealistic.
FIRST: I couldn’t get a straight answer on who could or could not vote. According to Jack when a Security Officer is on probation for ninety days, that officer has no union rights for ninety days. The rules are different before and after. However, the union makes officers pay dues from day one. Are they expected to pay dues yet not be allowed to vote? That doesn’t pass the sniff test either. It sounds more like a prison requirement. Probation equals casino prison and since you’re being punished by Jack, you also get your voting rights taken away from you, but you still have to pay the dues. We deserved clarification.
Since twenty percent of our officers are on probation, there’s no way we can have a vote without first resolving that issue.
SECOND: Early Sunday morning I received e-mail notification from Jack’s attorney that several changes were made to the working agreement and that a final version would eventually be forwarded. Until it was confirmed that these changes were indeed ‘not substantive’ (which was their claim) no one in their right mind would expect our members to vote on a five year contract without being aware of what was in that five year binding agreement.
Since it was the Labor Day weekend and no offices would open until Tuesday I cancelled the scheduled vote and indicated that the details would follow.
On Tuesday International President David Hickey called me at work. I clocked out and took the call.
The call lasted forty minutes. I couldn’t get a straight answer out of him on any of our concerns, questions that should have had easy, definitive answers. He contradicted himself on several key issues. I’ll spare you the details of his forty minute rant, but he was not happy that we wanted to postpone our vote until we could get what Mark promised, a BEST FINAL OFFER, after we had a chance to plead our case one last time. Hickey was loud, aggressive and threatening, but he indicated he would call Jack and eventually get back to me.
That evening while out to dinner with my wife he called. I took the call. It was a forty minute diatribe that was abusive, condescending and very threatening to myself and my family. His profanity-laced screeching and screaming ending with him saying,
“I don’t give a good damned what you say or think, we are having a vote next Tuesday and you had better not say one negative word or you’ll be sorry. And don’t think I won’t hear about it. I hear everything. My people are everywhere. Be warned.”David Hickey
I was shaken. I had never been spoken to like that professionally. I immediately called Jack’s Director of Security and told him the threatening nature of the call.
The next morning I resigned as president of local union 141. I announced it by e-mail to Mark Crawford and Team Jack and via our website to our local union members.
I worked one more day, then left on a prescheduled week-end trip to the West Coast.
When I returned to Cleveland I notified Mark Crawford that I still hadn’t been paid. He informed me that David Hickey would hand deliver said check to me on Tuesday, the day of the vote. Remember now, we were being forced to vote without getting our questions answered on who could vote and without the opportunity to counter their wage offer and ask them for a LAST BEST OFFER. Jack Cleveland Casino made one offer and we had to accept it, without any argument. So there was no real negotiation.
I did not feel safe having David Hickey who used gangster-style tactics against me and my family hand-deliver me anything. He should have confirmed that Jack was going to pay. Now he was going to pay?? Why the sudden change? Was he bringing checks for the others on the negotiating team? I don’t know, but I didn’t feel comfortable with his response. What would it look like on the day of voting for the president to be handing me an envelope, when it was agreed that Jack would pay?
I also was concerned that if his people were everywhere and I was at Jack, what might he do to my wife? He knows where we live, Sharon takes our dog for walks, she walks to the stores. He says he hears everything, that his people are everywhere.
I called off the next day. And one more day after that, just to be sure he was probably back in Detroit or at least not in Cleveland. I look upon it as temporarily dodging a bullet, so to speak. I still to this day don’t want to be in the same room as David Hickey. Yes, he is that brutal and I believed every threat with which he attacked me and my family. I still don’t know if we’re safe. And that is why I prefer a different union or no union at all.
That’s what terror is; you just never know what they’ll do if they already would go that far as to make the threats in the first place. I don’t believe they were idle and neither does Sharon.
1 – Local Union 141 was not properly represented by SPFPA. Through their actions, they represented Jack Cleveland Casino.
2 – I feel we were cheated by not getting our LAST BEST OFFER. We weren’t even given the opportunity to respond to their BEST OFFER.
3 – We didn’t get our straight forward questions answered, and
4 – Nobody had a chance to read the contract, that should have included a separate sheet stating the changes that were made to the agreement by Jack, without my prior knowledge and agreement, before the Local Union 141 members voted on it. The contract was supposedly given to each member when they showed up to vote. Whether the changes were stated in a concise way in said document listed as changes made to said document and who agreed to said changes is still not known by me.
Security Officer Steve Davies
14 April 2019
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
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?
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.
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.
Yourselves, Your teammates, Your employers, Your customers –
In no particular order.
All at once.
Officer Steve Davies-Tight, President, Local Union 141
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.