For photos from the Meadowlands contact Lisaphoto@playmeadowlands.com

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Meadowlands is in the Hands of the (Union) Voters

Harness Racing Update reports the fate of the Meadowlands lies in the hands of the teller union as the final and best offer by Jeff Gural will be voted upon by the tellers' union next week.  From what I gather, the union leadership is putting the offer to vote without a recommendation to approve or reject the offer.

It is hard to predict how the vote will go.  Many of the tellers don't depend on this job as their only source  of income.  Being a part time job, some tellers use this job as a second income so depending on their economic situation, they may have the freedom to reject the offer.  Also, the same union (Sports Arenea Employees Local 137 AFL-CIO) includes guest services employees (ushers) and those that work in concessions.  So depending on how bad they need this job (or not) and/or their senority which may determine if they stay employed (or not), it will decide their vote.  For anyone to predict how this vote will go is fool hardy.  So while the fate of the Meadowlands will not be determined this week, it should be resolved sometime in the early part of next week. 

As Gural has indicated there will be no second chance.  Horsemen need to decide where they will be racing the rest of the year.  Sure, a lot of these trainers will remain at their farms and can ship to Yonkers, Chester, or Pocono, but there are those trainers that will need to find stalls at other racetracks and deadlines for stall applications are coming due.  I feel less certain that the Meadowlands will be saved than I did a couple of weeks ago.  Here is one case where I will be very happy to be wrong.


Why Bother Department:  Yesterday was opening day at Thunder Ridge Raceway.  Even these days, there is usually interest in opening day.  "Usually" is the key word.  Total WPS handle on the five races?  $40.00.  It probably makes Prairie Meadows, a track which will likely be kicking the standardbreds out after this year, seem like a major league harness track.  Why do they race?  So they are able to offer simulcasting.

You may be wondering how May June Character, the horse we talked about yesterday made out at Thunder Ridge Raceway.  He finished first but was disqaulified and placed third.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

What is the actual deal Gural is offering? 50% reduction in pay or hours? I might tell him to stuff it too. Gural and Christie both want to kill the unions (Christie>teachers). The more I read about Gural the more he sounds like a billionaire bulldozer. He raises hundreds of millions and he wants to take it out on the hides of the working men and women. It doesn't sound like a fair offer and life will go on without harness at the Big M - the tellers might have to tell the RE titan to take a hike.

Have you heard anything about a week of TB grass racing in the fall?

JLB said...

In the interests of accuracy, your handle figures are off, as the final two races show odds on a number of horses, but no wagering total. So the $ 40 may have "swelled" to $ 60 or so !

And one wonders why the big daily double pool of $ 3 was refunded? Perhaps no one selected either leg?

Finally, note that a 2000 claimer was actually claimed out of one of the races. That is optimism at its finest.

And, at least I have found one track where I could be a big fish in a very small pond. After all, I guess I can;t watch their video on XPressBet.

The_Knight_Sky said...

Is it sad and scary that the fate of our beloved Meadowlands racetrack comes down to the Tellers Union.

As you mentioned many of them "part-timers". Imagine that. The future of the ENTIRE STANDARDBRED INDUSTRY hinges on the group of local people who punch tickets and count change.

It should not have come to this
as there is no Plan B.

Pacingguy said...

I don't know the specifics of his offer, but assuming Gural's offer is accepted, he will still love around $12 million before the new grandstand is opened so I don't think it is an effort to kill the union; just harsh reality.

Thre is talk about a six day turf meet at the Meadowlands; probably to secure th t-breds share of simulcasting revenue. Of course, if there is no Meadowlands harness, it may be a moot point.

Pacingguy said...

I don't know the specifics of his offer, but assuming Gural's offer is accepted, he will still love around $12 million before the new grandstand is opened so I don't think it is an effort to kill the union; just harsh reality.

Thre is talk about a six day turf meet at the Meadowlands; probably to secure th t-breds share of simulcasting revenue. Of course, if there is no Meadowlands harness, it may be a moot point.

Pacingguy said...

JLB, there may hvbe been more bet than $40, but I assume since those horses diddn't win, they had to refund the wagers.

Anonymous said...

12 million is a lot of $ but he will make that back. The salary and hours for the tellers are gone for good. I'm headed out there right now, I'll ask a few guys I know which way they're leaning.

The way Gural is handling this: "my way or the highway" rubs me the wrong way.

Pacingguy said...

I understand your feelings, but there is no guarantee of a profit. If Christie is around for re-election, you won't see slots until 2018 at the eariliest (if at all); that is a lot of risk coming to absorb.

Not knowing the deal being proposed, it may not be that severe a cut or it could be big.

The_Knight_Sky said...

Anon wrote: 12 million is a lot of $ but he will make that back.

_______________________

If members of the Tellers Unions believe that, then they should be able to ride the storm out for 2 or 3 years until the new grandstand is built.

Why should Jeff Gural be asked to assume a burden (the current contract) that the NJSEA constructed long ago?

Contracts such as these contribute to making racetrack owners living "in the red".

Pacingguy said...

It is not just the Meadowlands that will be loosing jobs. Reports show 910 employees may lose their job when Monmouth is leased. http://tinyurl.com/3u3qqjn