While Governor Christie has memorialized the agreement to allow Jeff Gural to take over the Meadowlands starting September 1, there is some trouble brewing at the Meadowlands this Hambletonian morning.
If you recall, the largest union at the Meadowlands refused to vote on the contract which requires them to take a 20% pay cut when their current contract expires. When the track was threatened, the union's executive board approved the contract with some revisions claiming since the union rank and file tabled the vote on the contract, they could approve a contract without their approval. Well, a Superior Court Judge has issued an injunction against the new contract based on a complaint from two union members (the article is wrong in that seniority was preserved in the new contract). The next hearing on the case is scheduled for August 31 though the plaintiff's attorney is seeking to move the case to federal court.
I don't believe this threatens the continuation of racing at the Meadowlands, but it does provide for a messy situation come February when the current contract expires. If the decision to void the new contract stands and a new contract with a 20% pay cut does not get approved, don't be surprised if an impasse is declared and a new contract is imposed unilaterally resulting in a strike and replacement workers being hired.
As I said before, I understand the union's rank and file being upset with the new contract being they previously took a 12.5% pay cut under the Whitman administration, but the reality is racing continues its downturn. The union should also realize with over 9% unemployment, there are plenty of people who will be more than happy to take their jobs.
Trotting's first sub 1:50 mile? The track was reported to be lightning fast last night at the Meadowlands which leads me to wonder if we may see our first trotting sub 1:50 mile in the Nat Ray either by San Pail or Arch Madness if the predicted thunderstorms hold off. Remember Arch Madness already holds a seasonal mark of 1:50.2 so with the right pace, a sub-1:50 mile is not out of the question.