Anger and Stress in Casinos

Texas has officially declared open season on RINOs and more specifically Joe Straus. During a Tea Party leadership conference this weekend in San Antonio, Texas hosted by American Majority and the Lone Star Tea Party, various Tea Party organizers and leaders of conservative groups met to discuss the future of the conservative movement in Texas. There were numerous speakers and presentations given throughout the day, but the name that was continually repeated was Joe Straus III. The evidence of Joe Straus's liberalism was overwhelming and alarming for this group of conservatives. As a result of this meeting, the number one priority of the Tea Party in Texas is to oust RINO Joe Straus as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) rated the Committee Chair Appointments during the last legislative session of the Texas House and the results were far from conservative. The average conservative score of the Committee Chair appointments by Straus was an abysmal 42 out of a possible 100, a drop of 25 points from the previous legislative session. Straus appointed Brian McCall to the second most powerful legislative position in the Texas House, the Chair of Calendars. YCT's legislative rating of McCall was a pitiful 27 which paints McCall as one of the most liberal Republicans in the Texas House of Representatives. McCall used his position to block many conservative legislators completely out of the legislative process. Straus also appointed Democrat Rene Oliveira to chair the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. YCT's score of Oliveira was a 15. Oliveira blocked conservative legislation aimed at reforming Texas's property tax system and also legislation aimed at cutting taxes. Oliveira also blocked any bill from exiting his committee that was not authored or co-authored by a Democrat. The list of Straus committee chair appointments goes on and on with a similar pattern throughout. It is no wonder that Straus has the support of the Democrats for his re-election to the position of Speaker.

In 2007, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas gave Straus a 100 percent rating; however Straus only voted in one of the nine votes that NARAL considered crucial. Apparently, Mr. Straus is only willing to take a stand on the tough issues and actually vote only 11% of the time. NARAL Pro-Choice Texas rates Straus as a 73 based on 2005-2009 averages. Also based on 2005-2009 averages, Texas Right to Life rates Straus a 50, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility a 71, the Heritage Alliance a 52, and TNFIB a 73. The ratings for Straus's challenger for Speaker, Ken Paxton, suggest a completely different story. NARAL Pro-Choice Texas rates Paxton a 3, Texas Right to Life a 100, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility a 100, the Heritage Alliance a 91, and TNFIB a 100. Based on the analysis of these groups, Ken Paxton is clearly the true conservative running for Texas Speaker of the House.

During the Leadership Summit in San Antonio, it was also brought up that the family of Texas House Speaker Joe Straus III stands to earn millions of dollars if lawmakers and voters agree to allow racetracks to install slot machines. The Texas Observer reported that Straus's office announced that he will transfer his decade-old Austin Jockey Club stock to his father. According to Texas Racing Commission records, Straus and his father, Joe Straus Junior, each own 3.5 percent of the Austin Jockey Club and stand to rake in more than $11 million each if slots are legalized in Texas. Coincidentally, during the last Texas Legislative Session, Speaker Straus formally recused himself from "matters related to the expansion of gambling at pari-mutuel racetracks," but made quite certain that the framework was in place to advance the interests of the gaming industry through his committee appointments. According to the Texas Tribune, Joe Straus III received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the gaming industry including contributors such as the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Personally, I prefer to remain neutral on the issue of gambling, however I do have a problem with politicians profiting from legislation passed under their watch.

As if all this were not enough, Mineola Representative, Bryan Hughes, added fuel to the fire by issuing a press release detailing a conversation with a member of the Straus leadership team in which the Straus lieutenant told Hughes that redistricting maps were already being drawn "to punish members not on Straus' list of supporters." Allegations such as this go far beyond the typical strong arm tactics used by politicians; this extends to the illegal and punishable by prison category. Straus calls the allegations "outrageous."

Tea Party organizers and conservative group leaders are rallying the troops all across the state of Texas and are united in one purpose - the defeat of RINO Joe Straus in his re-election bid as Speaker. Ken Emanuelson of the Dallas Tea Party stated at the Leadership Summit in San Antonio, "If Straus is re-elected to the position of Speaker, say goodbye to a conservative agenda for the state of Texas." Organizers around the state are calling on Tea Party members to contact Straus House supporters and urge them to reconsider their positions. Email campaigns, phone campaigns, protests, and petitions are now in the works and therefore lawmakers can expect a barrage of emails and phone calls from anti-Straus conservatives over the coming weeks and leading up to January 11thwhen the vote for Speaker will be held in Austin.

Hey Joe, maybe telling a bunch of Texans to "sit down and shut up" was probably not such a good idea. That pesky little free speech thing does tend to pop up at the most inconvenient times.


Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT)

The American Independent

The Texas Observer

The Texas Tribune

Casino employees are often vulnerable to a range of physical and emotional problems. Employees who work in casinos are expected to always treat customers with respect, smiles and dignity. Shelly Field, who counts “100 Best Careers in Casinos and Casino Hotels” among the 20 books she has written, said the 24-hour go-go atmosphere found in casinos piles stress on workers. “In the casino business you always have to be `on,’ and that adds to stress. Having to smile and be customer-service oriented on a constant basis becomes stressful in some instances,” said Field. The primary goal is to keep customers in the casino happy in spite of their attitude or behavior. Customers may often be intoxicated or angry over gambling losses. Employees are expected to tolerate rude and often insulting behavior. This can lead to stress, depression, hypertension, heart disease and anger. Since anger is a secondary emotion it is almost always preceded by frustration, stress or some other intense emotion.
Unrecognized and/or untreated workplace stress and anger can lead to an increase in sick day usage, accidents, interpersonal conflicts and poor morale. The resulting frustration experienced by the employee can trigger an angry outburst or employee burnout. According to an article published in Stress is extremely problematic among casino workers: 75% of casino workers identified stress as a significant cause of job dissatisfaction.50% of surveyed casino workers reported “a lot” to moderate stress.15% of medical claims among casino workers are reported to be stress related. Medical providers report that stress is a major contributor to most physical and mental health problems. Substance abuse, excessive eating and gambling are the principle occupational injuries of white collar and customer service workers. Stress indirectly costs employers $150 billion annually. Unfortunately, 25% of all surveyed managers believe that anger is an acceptable management strategy oblivious to the cost to the company as well as to employee morale. Stress is expensive emotionally, physically and financially for both employees and their employer.
Enlightened risk management and human resource consultants are aware of the business and legal exposure to organizations that ignore the need to address workplace stress, interpersonal conflicts, anger and person directed aggression. The average cost to an organization to defend itself against litigation charging workplace abuse, is $700,000. The introduction of anger management courses which include techniques for recognizing and managing stress, managing anger, improving communication and increasing empathy have been shown to effectively address workplace stress and interpersonal conflicts.
Research conducted at the University of South Florida, demonstrated that when an anger management program was introduced to students in one class, the entire school benefited. Similarly, a twelve month study conducted in one unit consisting of 16,000 employees in the U.S. Postal Service resulted in a savings of 1.7 million dollars. There was an increase in morale, increase in workplace performance, and reduction of sick day usage, a reduction in accidents and a dramatic decrease in workplace conflicts.
In addition to offering anger management to employees who exhibit problems managing stress, communicating effective and demonstrating emotional intelligence; anger management classes can be a cost saving intervention relative to preventing workplace conflict and improving employee morale.
A typical program can be implemented by providing brochures, or pamphlets explaining what an anger management class is and is not. Often, employees are reluctant to attend any program which may imply mental or emotional disturbance. Therefore, it is essential that the course be explained in simply language as a class designed to teach skills in managing stress, anger and improving communication and increasing empathy.
In order to address the stress and frustration often found among casino workers a good anger management program can provide the workers strategies to manage their stress and anger. In addition the essential components of a good anger management program should include skills to improve communication and increase empathy. This is not a program to deal with severe emotional problems and therefore employees should not experience any stigma associated with attending such a class. These courses are generally taught in small groups with approximately 20 employees with separate groups for management and line staff so that each can feel free to express themselves openly. Management staff often benefit from additional training on how to recognize signs of employee stress or depression in their work units.
Casino workers experience a high degree of workplace stress and anger based on the unique nature of their work environment. Like doctors, firemen and law enforcement officers, the stressful nature of the work is not likely to change. Instead, it is the employee who must be taught skills to manage his or her stress in ways that increase rather than decrease his job performance and team morale. The introduction of anger management courses are a cost saving intervention for business and industry.