Pritzker-owned company fights unionization efforts


ILLINOIS (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.”

In a statement, Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Galia Slayen said, “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.”

Slayen would not say if Pritzker believes the letter was an act of intimidation. 

“JB also believes in workers’ rights to collectively bargain as an important tool toward raising wages,” she said, adding that there’s nothing he can do about this situation.

“JB has stepped away from Pritzker Group and is no longer involved in the management of the company.”

Slayen’s response spoke to Pritzker’s philosophical views instead. 

“He believes that all employers should respect those rights of workers and unions,” she wrote. 

Pritzker’s campaign spokeswoman also highlighted his political endorsements as evidence of his pro-union credentials. 

“JB is proud to have the support of the Illinois AFL-CIO and dozens of unions across the state and as governor, he will continue to fight for the tools working families need to thrive,” Slayen said. 

Entertainment Cruises would not respond to repeated requests for a comment on this story. 

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