Like everyone else who has some skin involved with keeping the Meadowlands open , today's meeting with the Mutuel Clerks is a good thing. The hope is after an exchange of views and positions, the tellers will go back and approve the deal they left on the table.
I am here today to tell people to keep your expectations in check. This is far from a slam dunk. In an article by John Brennan, from The Record, who has been doing an excellent job chronicling the fight for the Meadowlands, it is revealed by a margin of 9-1, the tellers refused to consider the contract last Thursday night. That means there is a lot of anger in the union, Local 137 (I know I have referred to them as Local 173 at times; my father belonged to a Local 173) to overcome. I am not saying it can't be done, nor was the full membership represented there last Thursday night, but when 90% of the union was opposed to voting on the contract, it is not a question of winning over a few people; one has to win over a lot of people if that was a representative sample who were there last Thursday.
Hopefully, the tellers get to air their frustration of being mistreated over the past 15-20 years and Jeff Gural gets to explain to them he empathizes with them but the reality is what it is. Maybe, a pledge to increase salaries once the Meadowlands turns around and shows a profit can be made; assurances the teller jobs which remain will not be replaced any further with machines for a set period of time. In effect, it is Gural's job to convince tellers it is new game and the tellers will be treated with respect in the future; no longer will the tellers become victims of political winds.
Hopefully, everyone will go back satisfied and happy and this time the Local will allow a vote. But either way, it is important to realize to realize there are a lot of minds to be won over, and not a few. Just keep your expectations in check.