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Pritzker’s trick box

Thursday, Aug 30, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Mark Maxwell at WCIA

A company owned by J.B. Pritzker is warning its employees not to join a union, according to a letter one of its employees posted to Facebook.

“There’s only one way to guarantee that you can avoid the problems a union could possibly cause. Just SAY NO!” the letter reads.

Billy Dean, an employee for SeaDog Ventures, which is an Entertainment Cruises company, posted the letter to his Facebook page. Dean claims he started pushing to form a union after his employer increased his workload up to “12-15 hour days with no break.”

Entertainment Cruises is owned by The Pritzker Group, which is owned by Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker and his brother Tony Pritzker.

“What is real interesting about this is I work for JB Pritzker, “pro-union” gubernatorial candidate for Illinois,” Dean wrote. “Right now his progressive rhetoric doesn’t match his action.”

* The Facebook post

Hey friends, I know I haven't seen you in a while, and there is a reason for that: My job expanded our hours. I used to…

Posted by Billy Dean on Tuesday, August 28, 2018

* Pritzker campaign…

As JB has said throughout the campaign, he supports workers’ right to organize and he believes the process should be fair, open, and free of intimidation. JB also believes in workers’ rights to collectively bargain as an important tool toward raising wages. JB has stepped away from Pritzker Group and is no longer involved in the management of the company. He believes that all employers should respect those rights of workers and unions. JB is proud to have the support of the Illinois AFLCIO and dozens of unions across the state and as governor, he will continue to fight for the tools working families need to thrive.

* OK, but just this week, the Pritzker campaign tied Rauner to a company that he retired from years ago

Days after the U.S. EPA slammed a company tied to Bruce Rauner for toxic air pollution that could cause cancer, Rauner and former lobbyist turned IEPA Director Alec Messina are holding a press conference on the Volkswagen settlement.

* But, on the other hand, Pritzker has said he’s pulled back from running his companies. So, if he stays true to his word then he can’t go back in and do something about this union situation.

To mix metaphors, he’s in a trick box here, but he’s picked his lane and has to stay in it.


  1. - OneMan - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 12:22 pm:

    Looking forward to the defending of JB and the whatabout….

  2. - City Zen - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 12:28 pm:

    And we’re one day away from union contracts covering Hyatt and other downtown Chicago hotels expiring.

  3. - Texas Red - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 12:29 pm:

    In JB’s defense his family owned company is doing what every other company would do in a similar situation.

  4. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 12:35 pm:

    I’d also expect a lot of additional regulatory scrutiny and safety inspections of tour boats like the ones SeaDog uses after the Branson Duck Boat tragedy. Hope their paperwork, procedures and safety equipment are in order because that will be next.

  5. - wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 12:42 pm:

    Dude, it’s your company, your name is on it.

    This, along with his tax issues, indicate to me that Pritzker made a rather abrupt decision to run for governor.

    If he had been planning it for a few years, he would have taken care of these problems. It’s all real chump-change stuff to a multi-billionaire.

  6. - Montrose - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 12:42 pm:

    I guess the question is whether Seadogs would be taking the same stance if JB was still actively involved. Were there attempts to unionize at JB controlled companies before he separated himself that those companies tried to (or did) thwart?

  7. - SSL - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 12:45 pm:

    This is what bugs me about JB. Too much do as I say, not as I do. The wealthy should pay more taxes, now please step aside as my minions take the toilets out of my mansion. I’m a labor guy and believe in higher minimum wages, but pay no attention to that company over there that I own.

    I won’t argue Rauner’s penchant for lying. And I won’t ignore JB’s.

  8. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 12:46 pm:

    Both Rauner and Pritzker, in these instances, remind me of Charles Foster Kane.

    Kane, when talking to his former “guardian”…

    (The film is 853 years old, it’s not a spoiler… )

    … Kane talks about the transit system. Kane, with righteous indignation talks about the ills of the transit system. How his paper will expose… and serve the people…

    Kane also recites the amount of stock… as I try to do it justice, maybe reading that quote will help;

    CFK: The trouble is, you don’t realize you’re talking to two people. As Charles Foster Kane, who has 82,634 shares of Public Transit Preferred. You see, I do have a general idea of my holdings. I sympathize with you. Charles Foster Kane is a scoundrel. His paper should be run out of town. A committee should be formed to boycott him. You may, if you can form such a committee, put me down for a contribution of $1,000 dollars. On the other hand, I am the publisher of the Inquirer… As such, it’s my duty - and I’ll let you in on a little secret, it’s also my pleasure - to see to it that decent, hard-working people in this community aren’t robbed blind by a pack of money-mad pirates just because - they haven’t anybody to look after their interests.

    It’s romantic, isn’t it.

    But here’s the rub, both Pritzker and Rauner ignore.

    Kane, while chastising, sees and embraces the hypocrisy, because, well, the hypocrisy of a newspaper publisher, as Kane was at this point, isn’t facing voters on that hypocrisy.

    My point, in this, isn’t the whataboutism or that a fictional character seemily can stand and face the hypocrisy, it’s that people find complications but what is important is when serving the public, not their own interests, what side any person will choose.

    Will labor see Pritzker as two men, and bet that the newly minted public servant will see Labor differently then he may see Labor as Management?

    I can’t speak to that. I dunno. I can only listen, see, read, what Pritzker says without the public trust only given to those elected. Then I can know. How a Governor Pritzker reacts and acts in his public service will be the measure. Will there be two JB Pritzkers?

  9. - Zeep Bow - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 12:46 pm:

    How hard would it have been for him to just say: “I hope the company respects the results of the unionization vote”

  10. - thunderspirit - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 12:46 pm:

    == Dude, it’s your company, your name is on it. ==

    Pretty much this.

  11. - JS Mill - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 12:47 pm:

    Were I JB, I would fix this ASAP trick bag or not.

  12. - Sue - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 12:56 pm:

    Tex Red- nice try but this company is owned by JB not his family

  13. - Long Time R - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 12:57 pm:

    If this was out there you can bet more to come and Rauner looks really relaxed and happy these days. JMO

  14. - PublicServant - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:01 pm:

    Bah, just bring him in as a legislative liason when you get elected, JB. Or just fire him, and he’ll have a desk across from Mark Janus before you can say “Shake up Springfield”.

  15. - Freezeup - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:04 pm:

    A lot of billionaires are pro-union….. right?

  16. - Saluki - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:06 pm:

    Hey J.B. Load this in your Ipod.

  17. - Honeybear - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:06 pm:

    To it doesn’t seem like much of trick box.
    What are people going to vote for Rauner because of this?
    I highly doubt it
    Rauner is pretty much the labor anti christ at this point.
    It’s also why the IPI Janus stuff had failed
    Rauner has done everything in his power
    To hurt labor.
    It’s rediculous to think people would vote for him because of this.
    This a pathetic “what aboutist” attack.
    If anything I doubt Dean is who he claims to be.

  18. - A Jack - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:07 pm:

    Yes, JB should call for a boycott of that company until they are allowed to unionize. And he can call his brother who probably does have some influence with their holdings. I suspect the manager of the venture overstepped his authority. Indeed, a quick resolution will show how serious Pritzker is about being pro-union and pro-worker.

  19. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:08 pm:

    === What are people going to vote for Rauner because of this?===

    The object is to depress the base.

  20. - wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:09 pm:

    –If this was out there…—

    It’s been out there since before the primary.

    –…Rauner looks really relaxed and happy these days. –

    Yeah, 29%, got ‘em right where he wants ‘em.

  21. - SOIL M - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:09 pm:

    Wow a Progressive believes in do as I say not as I do. Who-da thunk it

  22. - Real - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:10 pm:

    I will be voting for JB regardless but he has influence in the company either way. It would be better if he called on them to allow a Union there. Either way the people who run Pritzker Group have more than enough money to pay employees good wages and benefits with a good work schedule but they rather live like kings and exploit the workers like so many many companies today and even ones that Rauner owns. Corporate slavery must end where those on top live as kings and everyone else lives as a slave.

  23. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:13 pm:

    ===The object is to depress the base.===

    Name the GOP SoS, Comptroller, and Treasurer nominees.

    Why are they so weak?

    No races, no reason for people to turn out.

    Depress the base.

    When you are 16 points behind, under water, and not trying to rehabilitate yourself, it’s things like this, weakening the core base of your opponent… that’s the lone path. Keep voters home, keep them discouraged and unmotivated.

  24. - Charry - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:16 pm:


    You win, you absolutely win. the mental gymnastics award is yours now and forever.

  25. - cannon649 - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:18 pm:

    JB is one continuous Buzz Word
    He will get caught again.

    Demand specifics - he will not have them

  26. - Cheryl44 - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:20 pm:

    I’m still voting for him, but I hope he fixes this before I do.

  27. - 44th - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:21 pm:

    I hope he used union plumbers to put the toilets back in. :-)

  28. - Anon - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:21 pm:

    ===his brother Tony Pritzker.===

    I’m fairly confident that if I were running for public office that my brother might do things to poke me in the eye.

  29. - PublicServant - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:25 pm:

    @Real, take it easy comrade.

  30. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:26 pm:

    –There’s only one way to guarantee that you can avoid the problems a union could possibly cause. Just SAY NO!–

    Union leaders supporting JB: “And, pray tell, what would those ‘problems’ be?”

  31. - Honeybear - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:29 pm:

    I’m being honest here
    I have never seen Labor more active
    I have never seen Labor more united
    I have never seen us work harder
    Defcon 1
    Missouri Prop A No
    level effort
    To get Rauner out
    It is do or die for us
    You will see Labor out in incredible force.
    Psssht….depress the base
    It won’t effect labor
    Just a few disgruntled
    Privileged Faux progressive
    Biss supporters
    They aren’t base in my opinion
    Just petulant back seat drivers.
    I don’t care if they get mad
    Their jobs, wages, health care, protections
    aren’t on the line
    Labors are
    For them it’s an academic
    Pietistic argument

  32. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:40 pm:

    I don’t see the trick bag. JB did not sell his stake in the company and it’s not in a blind trust. He “stepped away” or “pulled back” or whatever. If he’s not in the wheelhouse, he’s right outside the door.

    Time to make a call JB. (Actually, make two calls: one to corporate and one to the union organizers.)

  33. - A Jack - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:40 pm:

    Try as Rauner might to suppress voter turnout, Trump seems to have a knack for getting voters all worked up again.

  34. - JB13 - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:41 pm:

    His commercials keep telling me he’s brought thousands of jobs to Illinois. Yet his campaign keeps telling me he doesn’t actually own anything or make any real business decisions. Who to believe…

  35. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:48 pm:


  36. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:50 pm:

    Pritzker is the union-busting, pro-union governor.

  37. - Almost the weekend - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:59 pm:

    I know he stepped away, but showing leadership on this and solving this problem amongst his family ownership stake and employees would go along way. To show the public he has what it takes. The only thing Rauner has led is the GOP into cemetery.

  38. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 2:07 pm:

    Not surprised after the heat lamp thing at hyatt.

    @TexasRed - No not every company in this position would do this.

    You can be a capitalist owner/manager and actually recognize your workers as having their own labor interests. You can avoid having your workers want to start a union by making it not worth it to them to pay the dues to have a union by providing adequate compensation, benefits, and working conditions.

  39. - Amalia - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 2:09 pm:

    besides, I’ve seen this before….union member and working the precinct for candidate puts up a sign at their house, gets all like minded to do the same, and somehow the candidate tanks. only answer is that they vote differently in the booth.

  40. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 2:13 pm:

    Pritzker’s been in a lot of toilet-less trick boxes before.

  41. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 2:14 pm:

    Read the letter from Entertainment Cruises. It’s just dripping with compassion and concern. I have to take a shower now.

  42. - Kyle Hillman - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 2:22 pm:

    That statement from his campaign is weak sauce, surprising since they are usually really good. This is a bad look.

  43. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 2:29 pm:

    ===That statement from his campaign is weak sauce===

    A continuing theme from the Campaign.

    With a 16 point lead, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent weekly, the ground game / field offices will likely bail out Pritzker, as Rauner continues to be unlikable and unable to get a constituency.

    Their open admitting that their own oppo research lacks is also a fear, and marry that to other cross channel messaging, it’s beyond helpful with these shortcomings and lead that a ground game is in place and days are moving swiftly…

  44. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 2:33 pm:

    Also of note is that the employee’s post is not just about unionization issues. He appears to be alleging state labor law violations of the wage and hour variety.

  45. - Tasedoutwest - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 2:33 pm:

    Yes, the unions will be the destruction of us all…Rauner, JB, taxpayers….in the long, ILLINOIS

  46. - A Voter and Taxpayer - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 2:46 pm:

    The choices for Governor in Illinois this year are about as bad as choosing between the gallows or a firing squad.

  47. - City Zen - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 2:51 pm:

    According to Glassdoor, here are the terms of Entertainment Cruises 401K Plan:

    - Employees are eligible to contribute after 1 year of service
    - 50% of the first 10% employee deferral, up to an annual maximum of $2000
    - 3 years to vest in the company match

    I’ve never worked at an employer who made me wait a whole year to contribute into my 401k. The $2,000 limit is pretty bad. I have worked at one employer that made me wait years to vest in their match.

    JB says we can afford to pay our pensions. Now I know where he’s coming from.

  48. - Stagman - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 2:55 pm:

    The Democrat’s version of Bruce Rauner doesn’t want employees of his companies to unionize? Shocking…

  49. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 2:59 pm:

    JB doesn’t think the worker’s he pays for with his billions are entitled to lifetime health care and defined benefit pension with a 3 % compounded COLA. Just the worker’s the state’s taxpayers pay for get those kind of perks .

  50. - Real - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 3:05 pm:

    I’ve never worked at an employer who made me wait a whole year to contribute into my 401k. The $2,000 limit is pretty bad. I have worked at one employer that made me wait years to vest in their match.

    JB says we can afford to pay our pensions. Now I know where he’s coming from.

    -Most companies you do wait a year.

  51. - City Zen - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 3:58 pm:

    ==Most companies you do wait a year.==

    Actually, it’s the minority. According to US News, 11% of companies require employees to wait an entire year, the maximum waiting period allowed by law. Two-thirds of companies offer immediate eligibility in their 401k plans.

    JB is not too far from doing the bare minimum. I wonder if the SeaDogs are required to wear flare?

  52. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 4:12 pm:

    I voted for Kennedy because of his union record in the private sector. I certainly do not see Pritzker being like Rauner when it comes to unions and government/legal policy.

    The discussion needs to move to unions, because they are the main reason Rauner refused to agree to and pass budgets. For this governor, ending public union fair share fees is more important than state government. Rauner’s and the IPI’s fight against private sector unions continues as well, with the Lincolnshire local RtW case in the courts.

  53. - A guy - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 4:24 pm:

    “Jeesh, you send a guy 4 toilets in practically mint condition and this is how he thanks you?”

  54. - Sue - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 4:50 pm:

    Just maybe this news should give people pause as to whether they can trust this guy. My biggest concern is after JB is elected we may very well see a return of the kind of corruption we saw with Blago.

  55. - Rod - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 5:12 pm:

    JB has the union bureaucracy in his back pocket. All JB has to do is let this blow over. The unions will turn out campaign workers for him and most of them will be oblivious to the anti-union policies promoted by companies he owns.

  56. - Todd - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 6:24 pm:

    YEa he could step back in. But while people are upset about the letter, it never should have gotten that far.

    1. His company should be paying decent wages and bennies and have good work rules.

    But it doesn’t due to the complaints on social media about running over the workers.

    2. Seadog could simply bypass the vote and voluntarily recognise the union as the collective bargaining representative. No majority interest needed or election if the OWNER of the company wants to recognise and sign a contract.

    So JB takes the endorsement of union leaders & their locals. He takes their largess aka Sam McCann. And knew he had this in the closet.

    and we wonder what phone calls from union leaders are going out tonight and what the behind the scenes damage control looks like as they will be the ones who have to explain at union meetings what guys hear on the street.

  57. - Union Man - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 6:49 pm:

    I’m still not voting for Rauner.

  58. - blue dog dem - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 10:06 pm:

    Do as I say. Not as I do. New campaign slogan?

  59. - blue dog dem - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 10:07 pm:

    Next thing to come out about Pritzker is that he still likes Oreos before bed.

  60. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 6:18 am:

    The Pritzkers never seemed like a loving and supportive of each other family. No “I’ll bring the scrabble board over for family game night”, more like “I’ll see you in court.”

    So I’m not sure a phone call to Tony will work. And if JB owns 50% and Tony owns 50% JB can’t force Tony to do anything.

    He will have to do something, though. This isn’t just going to go away. Maybe throw his support behind the Seadog workers with words and money,and walk the picket line if they put one up.

  61. - Responsa - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 8:44 am:

    OK I’ll say it.

    Neither of the gubernatorial candidates is what could be called “likable”.

    Can we at least all agree on that?

  62. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 8:51 am:

    ===Neither of the gubernatorial candidates is what could be called “likable”.===

    Nope. Sorry. No.

    Rauner is 26 points under water.

    Pritzker is within the MOE to be above water.

    So… no.

  63. - Responsa - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 9:08 am:

    I’d posit that there can be, and often is, a likability vacuum encompassing two candidates. (See 2016 United States Presidential race.) Unfortunately between Rauner and Pritzker one of them will win–but not necessarily because of likability.

  64. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 31, 18 @ 9:13 am:

    ===Unfortunately between Rauner and Pritzker one of them will win–but not necessarily because of likability.===

    Again. No. Sorry.

    A mitigating factor… Rauner is so terribly unliked… Rauner is trailing by 16 points, while being 26 points under water.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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