“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