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Cincinnati's newest bargaining unit: Security guards at Jack Casino

Resolving 'legacy issues' from prior management
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Posted at 7:51 AM, Dec 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-09 07:51:39-05

CINCINNATI - Contract talks are expected to begin next month for 55 dispatchers and security guards at Jack Casino in Cincinnati after they voted last month to join a union.

The vote brings to 800 the number of union employees at the Downtown casino property. That’s about two thirds of its total work force.

Employees voted 32-14 on Nov. 10 to join the international union, Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America. The vote ended an organizing campaign that began more two years ago.

That’s before the casino’s Detroit-based owners ended their partnership with Caesar’s Entertainment Corp., which operated the property as a Horseshoe Casino until June of this year.

Union leaders did not return WCPO’s calls. Jack Entertainment spokeswoman Gayle Joseph said the company expects a smooth transition for the casino’s newest bargaining unit.

“Our relationship is a strong one,” Joseph said. “Although we have not started the contract negotiations, we anticipate a smooth process and a successful outcome for all of us.”

The union organizing effort comes just a few months after 183 current and former casino supervisors won a $775,000 settlement after accusing the casino’s former management company of failing to pay required overtime. U.S. District Judge Sandra Beckwith approved the settlement June 1 on behalf of “all current and former table games supervisors who were employed at any time between January 1, 2013 and March 8, 2016” at the Cincinnati casino.

Court filings indicate the class-action settlement allowed casino supervisors to collect up to $470,000, or 3.4 hours of overtime pay for every full week they worked. Their lawyers received $273,333 in fees, while three named plaintiffs in the case split $25,000 for serving as class representatives. Settlement notices were sent to 183 potential plaintiffs, but 80 opted out of the case and 10 could not be located, records show.

Joseph said the two events are not connected except that they are “legacy issues involving the property’s previous management.”

In the six months since Jack Entertainment took over operations, it has been exploring ways to make the company a better place to work and establish the Jack Casino brand as an industry leader. Its current staff is about 500 employees smaller than the 1,700 touted in Horseshoe Casinos opening day press release.

“We are beginning to lay the foundation of our new company – brick by brick,” Joseph said. “We have lofty goals and are excited about the future.”