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L.S. Dennis
06-02-2003, 10:28 PM
I recently sent an e-mail to the UPA to see whether or not the pro players needed a waiver to play in the Sands Reno Open. This is the note that I recieved in reply that I thought might be of interest to this board since there's been a lot of confusion over this lately;

Hello Dennis,

The UPA has an open waiver for all events thus allowing individual players to participate in any event they so choose. The only event that a UPA Touring Pro would not have permission to participate in would be a specific event that was "officially" boycotted by the UPA. Currently there are no such events and hopefully this occurance will never become an actual reality.

Thank you, please let me know if I can be of further assistance,

Frank Alvarez III
UPA Rep/Touring

Fran Crimi
06-03-2003, 06:44 AM
The UPA's choice of the word "boycott" is a sign of a new organization trying to find their footing and not yet getting the right vocabulary down. They should get the word "boycott" out of their vocabulary. The word usually connotes fighting against a particular injustice. A tournament doesn't have to be unjust in order for a player's association to refuse waivers to it's members. It has to be in direct conflict and in obvious competition with the association's goals for it's players.

Their answer to you, Dennis, should have been a simple, yes, our players can play in the Sands Open.

Fran

DSAPOLIS
06-03-2003, 07:47 AM
I agree with you Fran. Myself and several others have been hesitant to sign anything. Once bitten, twice shy. There seems to me that there IS a lot of bullying going around with this, and I believe that it is intentional. Their timing was not well planned to drop this "contract" on the laps of prospective players. I touched on this subject on another board, but it is worth repeating: Players are eager to play. Some will sign the UPA contract out of desperation, or ignorance. That is sad, but that is also what they are counting on. I fail to see why ANY tour would boycott anything that would promote pool, including the US Open. Whenever a contract says that you are waiving any right to anything, YOU ARE GETTING SCREWED OUT OF SOMETHING THAT SOMEONE ELSE WILL BE MAKING A PROFIT FROM. That is just common sense, and they can word in as much legalese as they want, but what I wrote is still pretty much on the money. This is also a tool to have the players boycott tours such as the Viking, Joss and Falcon Tours. I'm sure the UPA will deny that, but what happened with the PPPA is a lesson well remembered by very few.

In the 1980's, we were told, rather we were threatened not to play in the BCA 14.1 US Open. What good did that do for pool? It pushed straight pool into virtual obscurity, and has it referred to as "a lost art" by many that have never played it. We need to start working together to promote the sport as a whole, and stop all of this nonsense that kills the fun out of the game. If The UPA can prove to me and to others that they are not another organization that wants to fill their pockets at the expense of the players, then I will gladly sign a contract and play on their tour, and actively support it. When it stops being pool for pool players and becomes a money pit for greedy business-folk, I'm out, and staying as far away as I can. Right now, it sounds like the same old song I've heard before.

Ken
06-03-2003, 08:42 AM
One of the main problems with the UPA is that Charlie the Dragon makes all the decisions (I know a couple others must agree with him). There should be no boycott without a vote by the touring pro members. Signing the contract gives to a few persons the power to effect the livelihood of all the players. That's not the way a union should work.

I can understand a boycott against a promoter who has failed to pay the players without a good reason. I can think of a few other reasons to call for one. I don't know the reason CW tried it but, after the lack of compliance last year, it's clear that he wants to be able to force the players to obey him this year. If the players boycott because a promoter doesn't have the money to get sanctioning or simply doesn't want it, they will be subjecting themselves to prosecution or a civil action for extortion. That's what the players are signing up for.

If the UPA is to be a true players' union it's time that the players start voting on important issues. The contract should require that a player abide only by the results of a vote of the members, not some executive decision.

If the players participate in an illegal boycott they will be putting all their property at risk. They should have some voice in the decision including the right to resign and rescind their signature on the contract without penalty.
KenCT

L.S. Dennis
06-03-2003, 08:45 AM
I know much less about all this stuff than you guys, but from my point of what Frank had to say 'seemed' fair and reasonable (with the possible exception of the word boycott which may have been a bit strong). I think we need to give this thing a little time to see how it plays out. It sounds as if they've learned of how NOT to go about things from recollections of the PBT.

jjinfla
06-03-2003, 11:57 AM
You are much too kind Fran. That reply was from the UPA Rep and I am pretty sure that ALL the powers to be read it over several times before ALLOWING it to be posted. The word "boycott" was cleverly selected to remind promoters what can happen to them if they do not comply with the UPA. Now having mentioned it here and on AZB and who knows where else it will be on everyone's tongue. You either comply with the UPA or they will boycott you. But it is all probably an exercize in futility since the general public is just not interested in watching the greats of pool play. And until they are there will never be any money in it for them. Nothing like golf where the top 30 in the PGA have won a Million or more so far this year. #65 on the list has won $502,200. And the worst player on the list, good old Tom Byrum, #125 has won $192,336. Not counting what the sponsors give them. And there is still 7 months left in the year.

I personally believe that the UPA would be better off setting up their own tour of a dozen stops and building from there. Charge addmission and let the kids in for a couple of bucks when accompanied by a parent/adult. Jake

eg8r
06-03-2003, 12:09 PM
[ QUOTE ]
I personally believe that the UPA would be better off setting up their own tour of a dozen stops and building from there. Charge addmission and let the kids in for a couple of bucks when accompanied by a parent/adult. Jake <hr /></blockquote> This is a great idea.

eg8r

SPetty
06-03-2003, 02:02 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote jjinfla:</font><hr>That reply was from the UPA Rep and I am pretty sure that ALL the powers to be read it over several times before ALLOWING it to be posted. <hr /></blockquote>Hi jjinfla,

It's possible that they didn't allow it to be posted. I had a question about something awhile back and sent a query to the BCA. The answer I received was a good one, so I asked if it would be O.K. if I posted it to a pool bulletin board. They responded negatively - asking that I not post it because it was intended as communication between me and them and not for public consumption. It's possible that if permission to post had been asked, it would have been denied. Just a thought...

MarkUrsel
06-03-2003, 02:23 PM
I'm having trouble understanding why so many people are to vehement in saying that what Charlie Williams and the UPA organization is doing is a bad thing.

[ QUOTE ]
Blackjack Dave Sapolis

Whenever a contract says that you are waiving any right to anything...
<hr /></blockquote>

What the contract says is that a player give the right to the UPA to use his image or video. It doesn't say exclusive use. That means the player still can do appearances, make his own books, videos, or even tape a UPA tournament appearance for a highlight reel. Where's the problem?

It says players need a waiver to play in other tournaments, and Frank says a blanket waiver is in place. Where's the problem?

I'm confused I guess.

DSAPOLIS
06-03-2003, 02:50 PM
Mark Wrote:
"What the contract says is that a player give the right to the UPA to use his image or video. "

That is exactly what it says. What it doesn't say is how the players will be compensated for allowing their image to be used in the sale of videos, etc. On Azbilliards I used the comparison to the case of Jesse Ventura Vs the WWF. Ventura was able to successfullu sue Vince McMahon and recieved over $800,000 in back royalties, regardless of the wording of the initial contract. I used this analogy because I was in the wrestling business prior to the days of independent, outside representation. 23 years ago I was told that wrestlers got screwed by promoters because that was just the way the business was. 23 years later,guys are making 6 figures - guaranteed, with outside independent representation being the rule, not the exception. This was started by Jesse Ventura who said "enough is enough." One guy with a big set of BB's that wasn't scared to take on the boys in the big leather chairs. For years we were taken advantage of, and offered lopsided contacts only when we were desperate and in no position to turn anything down. The UPA is operating with the same rules. They understand that some players will jump at the opportunity to sign the contract. Some will sign it out of desperation, some will sign it out of the opportunity to play the top players, some will sign it out of complete ignorance.

Jake make a good point that the word "boycott" was directed at promoters, especially Barry Behrman. This is the posturing phase, which I believe is premature from an organization that can't keep its web site up and running.

Fran Crimi
06-03-2003, 03:15 PM
Nah...I don't think it's that big of a deal, Jake. I just think they don't know the right terminology yet. There have been events that WPBA players were not permitted to play in as well. We weren't boycotting those events. We just decided it wasn't in our players overall best interest to play, since it could be detrimental to the tour. In UPA terminology we would be considered boycotting. It's the wrong word, that's all.

Fran

Ken
06-04-2003, 06:44 AM
Fran, there is a big difference here. I don't think there is an event in the world that the WPBA could ruin financialy. I don't think the WPBA has any intention of ruining any event.

The UPA, on the other hand, was started for the primary purpose of getting back at Behrman and the US Open. The boycott of the Open by all the UPA members would assure that it is a financial flop. Charlie proved that when he tried to organize a boycott last year. He had no clause in the contract last year and the attempt was a joke. This year, however, he has everyone sign an agreement that they will boycott if told to. The obvious intent of the UPA is, in essence, to strike just like any other union when Charlie feels like it.

The Board should not have a clause in the contract enabling them to call for a strike. It is always up to the leaders of a union to RECCOMEND only and then for the membership to vote on a strike. The UPA wants to take that vote away from the members.

I don't think the WPBA exists to pressure promoters as the UPA does. The WPBA was not formed to go on strike against all those independent promoters who are holding all those events for the pro women.

The WPBA is involved in organising women's events and the the UPA also should be involved in holding events, not in stealing events from the independent promoters. Don't you see the difference? Don't you remember what Charlie did last year? He called for a BOYCOTT.

The UPA is creating very little in the way of events. They are just trying to take over existing events. Much of their operating funds came from donations by the very promoters that they are now extorting to purchase sanctioning from them. It's nothing but a protection racket. All the UPA offers is that the same players that would have played will still play if the UPA is paid off.
KenCT

Ralph S.
06-04-2003, 07:13 AM
Hey Ken, a side note to unions and strikes. A real union cannot strike over monetary issues. This basically covers wages. A union can strike over many other issues such as health care benefits, saftey issues and things of that nature.

Ralph S.&gt;proud member of a real union-U.A.W. 2214 /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Ken
06-04-2003, 07:31 AM
Ralph, From what I remember from when my father was in the the AFL-CIO (I think) there would be a contract proposed and voted on by the members. Then if negotiations failed there might be a strike vote. I've never heard of a situation where in order to join the union you have to agree to strike whenever the president of the union tells you to.

The UPA has its own idea of how a union should work. No need to bother the members about any decisions that might result in bankruptcy for all of them. I remember when the mobs ran the unions. If the leaders called for a strike there was a strike. They might have a vote but there was no question about the outcome. No need for a vote at the UPA. I guess we're repeating history here.
KenCT

Ralph S.
06-04-2003, 07:49 AM
Ken, I happen to be in basic agreement with you. I was merely stating some other notes about a legitimate union in the REAL world. Many people dont have the benifit of a union in todays workforce. Unions, at one time, was a very significant factor in where one chose to gain employment. This just isnt quite as prevelant today as it was way back when. Personally, I consider myself very fortunate to have the strength of a union at my backside, if needed.

MarkUrsel
06-04-2003, 08:07 AM
Dave, in the case of the WWF, the lawsuit happened after the organization was strong. If the wrestlers were compensated then the way they are today, the WWF would have never got off the ground.

Ken, I agree that a vote is needed in the case of calling for a boycott. I don't see anything in either the player's contract or the promotor's contract that prohibits the UPA from conducting a vote either. In the absence of that information, you're making things up that may or may not be correct.

Also note that the UPA is NOT a union, nor was it intended to be. It's an organization of players that works with promoters and those players to put on shows. It's not a union of players working in spite of rich owners and greedy fat cats who control the real money.

Ken
06-04-2003, 08:35 AM
Ralph, I agree with you, I was just mentioning how I remember the unions worked.

It's interesting that you mention they can't strike for just monetary reasons. A union trying to get money out of an employer may be considered the federal crime of extortion.

The interesting thing about unions is that they are necessary in situations where employers are exploiting the workers and not giving them sufficient compensation which includes safe conditions and other matters besides just money. The funny thing is that the money isn't there in pool so even if there's a union of players the promoters aren't getting rich by exploiting the players. So what can the union accomplish? The union should be working to bring the money in since it's not there now. That's how the WPBA seems to work.

Blackjack mentioned pro wrestling and in that activity there was a lot of money. The promoters were getting rich and the wrestlers were lucky if they survived long enough to make any profit. Pro football is another activity where participants can easily have career ending injuries but those guys make a lot of money. There's a big difference between those businesses and pool.

I think the pool event promoters should form a union and force the players to agree to a profit sharing prize structure. Let them compete for their entry fees and if they bring in enough fans give them part of the gate. The wrestlers brought in the fans, let the poolplayers do the same.

The promoters are working more for the good of the game than for the great profits available. And along comes a players' union presssuring them come up with money they don't have.
KenCT

Ken
06-04-2003, 09:05 AM
Ralph, I think the United States Poolplayers Association would be considered a union for legal purposes just as much as the United Auto Workers. They are both bargaining units.

Sure, nothing prohibits them from calling for a vote. They can call for a boycott without calling for a vote. That's the point. They don't need to call for a vote. The bylaws should REQUIRE that they have a vote. I don't see what I am "making up" since I am going by what I've been told of the players' contract. I don't remember hearing anything about a vote. I think you are making up the thought that they might have a vote. I doubt it. Did Charlie the Dragon have a vote by the players last year? If he did why did most of them play in the Open? I have actual facts to go on not things I make up.

You are correct if you are saying the owners are not getting rich from pool tournaments. You are totally incorrect that the UPA is working with promoters to put on shows. The promoters don't need the UPA and they get nothing from them except the agreement not to boycott. Take a look at the facts, all a promoter gets is a mention on the website and maybe a pool school the weekend before. Whoop-dee-doo.

Last year Barry had a successful Open without the UPA despite the boycott. Brady had an unsuccessful Mid-Atlantic with the UPA. What did the UPA do for Brady except take some of his money?
KenCT

Fran Crimi
06-04-2003, 11:20 AM
Ken, I think the UPA was formed because the players were tired of not getting what was promised to them by promoters. The 9-11 tragedy was probably a contributing factor, but definitely not the only factor. There were other incidents of promised payouts that weren't paid.

I think that what the UPA is thinking is to start with the events that are already established and work from there. Bringing both established and new events into a tour will not only be a good thing for the players, but for the promoters as well. No one is looking to take over any established event. But if the UPA can put a tour together, that will help them raise more sponsorship money for each event, including the established ones, as well and maybe even secure them a TV contract.

That would bring advantages to everyone, including the established events. Maybe Barry would finally get the TV coverage he hasn't been able to get all these years, and maybe he'd be able to keep his own gate for a change instead of putting it back into the prize fund, because there would be more sponsorship money added to the tour.

What actually is the UPA asking in return? A relatively small sanctioning fee and a guarantee that what is promised to be paid is actually paid.

What's so terrible about that?

I agree, the whole boycott thing was handled badly, but they're going to make mistakes as they go along and they're going to correct themselves as they go along, which is what they did when they decided they wouldn't try to demand money in escrow for this year's US Open, but rather a contractual promise to pay. That's not unreasonable to ask for the potential to put something bigger and better together in the long run for the pros.

The way I see it is we all have two choices, Ken, as outsiders and spectators of the unfolding UPA. We can harp on their mistakes and miscues and condemn them as you're doing, or we can watch them evolve and see what direction they move in.

Fran

Ken
06-04-2003, 12:52 PM
Fran, I have heard of other incidents and I believe at least one resulted from outright fraud in that the promoter never intended to pay. It is certainly a good idea to get the money into escrow but the nature of men's pool is that the money is usually not there. I guess that has been acknowleged by the UPA and they have relaxed that requirement.

The big deal seems to be that money was advertised as "guaranteed" and the players won't admit that they knew all along that the money was intended to come out of gate receipts. Take out the word "guaranteed" and there would be no problem. Everyone knows the money is not there and has to come from attendees.

I think the UPA can be a positive force in the business by going to outside potential sponsors and showing them a product that might interest them. There is still the problem of how to get enough spectators and probably only TV will accomplish that. I think it is illustrative of the attitude of the UPA leadership that they insisted last year that Barry put money into escrow instead of putting the finals on TV. Barry made the right choice and probably was instrumental in getting the TV time scheduled to start in July.

If, instead, Barry had gone with sanctioning of last year's Open there would have been less money for Barry and the same money for the players, but no TV. CW would have had his great victory and some more money but pool would still be going no place. The UPA needs to look to the future where it can do some good instead of putting all its efforts into scaring all the promoters.

They are already talking of "boycott". Their intention of bypassing the players and using the contract to bully promoters is totally obvious. They need people with foresight making decisions and not someone with a vendetta against one promoter.
KenCT

jjinfla
06-04-2003, 03:56 PM
I see where the UPA has signed a contract with the First Annual Master Billiard Big Apple 9-Ball Challenge. upatour.org (http://upatour.org) They have agreed to add $20,000 to the prize money and to allow the tournament open to UPA members only. (no signing of UPA contract required) In return the UPA will post this on their website and notify their members of the tournament. I would think that the UPA would guarantee a set number of top ranked UPA players would enter the event. But evidently they do not have to do that. Is this event one where they will be charging admission for people to watch the action? If not, how do the promoters expect to recoup their money? Where does the $20,000 come from? And Fran I see nothing wrong with a promoter having the prize money be determined by the entry fee and a percentage of the admission tickets. That way it would be to the benefit for all the players to encourage people to attend the event. The more people who would attend the event the more money available for the players.

So that only leaves the US Open that is not sanctioned. Does anyone know why? Will we see a boycott this year again? Any chance that Barry can get ESPN to televise the finals? Jake

Fran Crimi
06-04-2003, 05:16 PM
Jake I can appreciate your and others concern about how this works and who's getting screwed and who's not and so-on, and I'm sure I could probably answer your questions based on my experience in how a tour gets established and the bumps that will have to be encountered along the way.

But the best thing you or anyone else can do is to just get out there and watch the events, enjoy them and support the players that are the best in the world at what they do. They would be eternally grateful for that.

Don't get too caught up in the politics. The end result over the next few years, hopefully will be that there will be more events, more money for the players and promoters, more sponsor participation and maybe even televsion coverage. These are all better things for everyone involved.

Fran

Ken
06-04-2003, 06:52 PM
Jake, the promoters' contract states that the UPA has a product of value to offer the Promoter. That product is the participation of UPA pros. Of course, that is something the promoter would have had without sanctioning, but along with sanctioning comes the agreement that the UPA will not call for a boycott. For payment, probably the $1,000 still applies and now the players must pay a $25 fee to the UPA. It just keeps on getting worse.

The only difference between this open event and any event on the Joss tour, for example, is that the Joss actually provides the tour. You must join the Joss in order to play. It's just another fee to play on their tour. The UPA is taking other peoples' events and making it like their own tour. You won't be subject to the union-like operations of the UPA. They won't be telling you to boycott since the $25 people apparently don't have to sign the players' contract.

By signing up for this sanctioning you don't get any more pros, you don't get any different pros, you just get no boycott and a lightening of everyone's wallet.

They have no "product". HELLO!! The Emperor has no clothes!!

KenCT

jjinfla
06-04-2003, 10:07 PM
Fran, you are 100% right and actually while at the local bar this evening that is exactly what I have decided on doing. I, and other people who like to watch the pros, have quite a few pretty good tours here in central Florida where we can go and watch the pros play for free. And now it was announced that John Ditoro has restarted the Florida Men's Pro Tour. I hope all the old gang returns to it. I sure did enjoy that tour. Whether the UPA is successful in organizing the men means absolutely nothing to me. I just find it very distasteful that the UPA and its members would think of strongarming or boycotting the US Open and in so doing ruin the event that has been so great for players and fans alike over the years. I suspect that if the UPA does follow through on a boycott of that event then the fans will boycott every future UPA event. And what good would that do for pool? Jake

cueball1950
06-04-2003, 10:24 PM
First let me start off by saying i am not going to Bash CW or the UPA here. I have had the pleasure of meeting Fran only once and from our brief conversation i can tell that she is an upstanding person and a wonderful person that is looking out for the best interest of this game we all love and play. And by the way, she plays one hell of a game. I agree with alot of what Fran has been saying and alot of it makes sense. The main problem is what is the UPA going to do about Earl Strickland. They resigned him just after the Tournament in VA. Last year i believe. Earl came on here in the open and public forum and stated his side of what had happened. Whether anyone wants to believe it, Love him or hate him, Earl (in my opinion and in the opinion of many others) is the best AMERICAN 9 Ball player we have. He is the most marketable and colorful Player out there. (except for Keith McCready... /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif) People who love him come to watch his antics and to watch him win. Those who hate him come to see him lose. So what is going to happen to Earl in all these UPA sanctioned tournaments. I believe The UPA needs Him as much as He needs them. You have to admit that Earl puts people in the seats. They need to reinstate him for the sake of the game.
Now as far as the Open and the UPA goes. I honestly hope that CW And BB can please work out their differences for the sake of the Open and the game in general. If Cw does sanction the Open. What happens to Earl. Will he be allowed to play? Or if Earl is allowed to play by Barry will Cw pull his players out of the Open since Earl is not a memberof the UPA. Hell, i would pay his dues just to get him back. I have decided to stop bashing CW, (last year was enough) and hope that everybody can get things worked out. All this bashing does is only make it worse for everybody. Players, Fans, The UPA and the OPEN itself. Like i stated in a previous post,,Lets all try to get along. I can understand Ken's point of view also. He, Like everybody else saw what happened last year and it put a bad taste in everybodies mouth....So please let us all pray that everything goes smooth this year and everybody comes out a winner. God knows, the game of POOL Needs it in order for the game to move ahead...Just my rambling thoughts and opinion.....................Mike

DSAPOLIS
06-04-2003, 10:32 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote MarkUrsel:</font><hr> Dave, in the case of the WWF, the lawsuit happened after the organization was strong. If the wrestlers were compensated then the way they are today, the WWF would have never got off the ground.
<hr /></blockquote>

Nobody was ever compensated (with maybe the exception of Ventura). What happened was that Ventura paved the way for the new guys. The price was paid by those that passed before them. The changes did not occur over night, they occurred gradually, and it is now an acceptable way to do business. The same will probably happen in pool someday. Guys in my generation got kicked in the nuts pretty hard once or twice by the business establishment in pool. I would hate to see the young guys go through the same thing, with the only thing different being the names and the faces dishing out the punishment.

Steve Lipsky
06-05-2003, 07:40 AM
Mike, Earl is probably praying the UPA stays out of the Open. They might as well give him the trophy and the check (albeit a smaller one) now!

/ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/shocked.gif

- Steve

Ken
06-05-2003, 11:02 AM
Steve, now that the UPA has dropped the escrow requirement it seems that Barry could get sanctioning for the US Open without any difficulty. I'm not in agreement that the players would then be required to join the UPA. Several of the sanctioned events are "Open" events. By definition there should be no membership requirements to enter an open event.

I don't see how the contract that the UPA has with the Big Apple Challenge could be imposed on an "Open" event. Unless the UPA has a different idea and attempts to pervert the meaning of the word "open", and that would not surprise me, they cannot impose the requirement of membership.

This is just another half-baked idea that doesn't make sense. It's just designed to take money from the players. I don't see how they could prohibit Earl from buying a $25 membership. They don't provide anything at that level. You have to pay the $100 to get the union benefits.
KenCT