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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Is April 8th the Real Deadline?

Every one, including myself, is touting the drop dead date for the Meadowlands as April 15.  Now that I have had some time to think about it, there may be in fact two drop dead dates; April 15 is the date when the lease needs to be signed sealed and delivered by the state, but the reality is, the first drop dead date may be April 8; the date all the unions need to agree to concessions to keep the clock running.

If you look at Harness Racing Updates's article on April 1, you see clues which indicate April 8 may be the real deadline.  In the article you see Jeff Gural saying the following:

Hopefully, next week we can make a deal with the unions and then right after that I will sit down and see if I can overcome any problems (Christie’s office) may have with the proposal I made two weeks ago...”

If we can’t make a deal with the unions next week why would anyone think we could make a deal with them a month later. 

One thing Jeff Gural has been with his negotiations is forthright.  He tells it like it is and chooses his words carefully.  Assuming a week is needed to settle issues with the Governor's office, he needs the unions on board by the end of this week. Now, if he and the unions are 95% there, the deadline may be extended but if the impasse has essentially not changed, we may be reading by this coming Saturday how the deal is off.  As Gural says, the horsemen need to make their plans for the rest of the year.

Of course, hopefully this is all academic and cooler heads will prevail..

The question may be asked why is the teller's union playing hardball?  Simulcasting.  Yes, at night when the Meadowlands races there may not be much need for tellers, but during the day when there is afternoon simulcasting of thoroughbred races, there are more tellers working than at night.  If the Meadowlands closes, the jobs at night are lost, but if they make the back paddock into an OTW, the union may be assuming all those tellers who are working during afternoon simulcasting sessions will just move into the back paddock when construction is complete; working for the same salaries and staffing levels they currently have.  In the meanwhile, while live racing may come to an end, simulcasting (at least during the day) will continue.   The union may be thinking to sacrifice those evening jobs in order to keep the daytime jobs, especially if the more senior members of the union have the right to bounce newer tellers if there are cutbacks.


Mojo said...


what is the pay of the tellers with the most seniority? it has been tough to take a side not
knowing what gural is dealing with.
i dont think he is asking for minimum wage
just hope this gets resolved.

Anonymous said...

I've heard that most of the union teller jobs gotten through political patronage. Do you know if that is correct?

Pacingguy said...

My understanding; at least it was the way before is that tellers get the same pay regardless of how long they are there. Where seniority comes into play is who gets to work. Work during the day or at night; if management needs more tellers than usual, a senior teller could jump ahead of a junior guy, etc.

Pacingguy said...

Allegedly, at least at the beginning, you needed to know someone to get a job there. Was it political patronage? It wouldn't surprise me.

Anonymous said...

Another compromise would be to take out,lets say, 3/4 of the voucher machines. That would mean keeping more teller working.

From someone who bets frequently during TB simulcasting at the Big M- those machines constantly break or eat tickets or don't register the black card. I would be happy to see them go if more teller lines were open.

Pacingguy said...

Anon, if anything more machines are coming. People are expensive; machines are cheap.

What I have done is open a NJAW account and use it in the machines; I don't have to worry about tickets which is the biggest problem.

The_Knight_Sky said...

Anon wrote: >>
From someone who bets frequently during TB simulcasting at the Big M- those machines constantly break or eat tickets or don't register the black card.

Many machines need to be replaced. Not just fixed. If Gural is a smart man he can envision more BetJet machines in the future. He has to make the lease concept work in the short term.

If the entire standardbred industry topples like dominos.
We can blame these three unions for being stubborn in the short-term.

John said...

Put a fork in it the Big M is done. If the unions can't even give a swift positive response what makes one think they will change their tune in the next week.

Ciao Francesco Rinaldi as the Italians would say to the Meadowlands Harness Track.

Pacingguy said...

John, it is called brinksmanship; see who blinks first. When they realize Gural isn't about to blink, they may move. It has been reported elsewhere they are talking.

But, we will see what happens soon enough.