Pari-Mutuel Clerks Would Honor Derby Strike by Churchill Downs Valets

Posted on: April 30, 2021, 07:20h. 

Final up to date on: April 30, 2021, 07:20h.

If the valets at Churchill Downs determine to strike on Saturday, they gained’t be alone. On Friday evening, the eve of the Kentucky Derby, the observe’s pari-mutuel clerks mentioned they’d not cross their union colleagues’ picket line.

Churchill Downs strike
Supporters of valets working at Churchill Downs stood on the sidewalk in entrance of the Louisville observe Friday afternoon handing out leaflets to patrons coming into the observe. The paper knowledgeable the general public that valets, who haven’t had a contract with the observe since October, could strike on Saturday. (Picture: Larger Louisville Central Labor Council/Fb)

With the clerks honoring a potential Derby Day strike, it means the Louisville observe might be with out 200 clerks to take wagers on its greatest day of the yr.

“The parimutuel clerks stand in full solidarity with valets who’ve been patiently ready for a good contract since final fall,” mentioned Don Vest, govt board president for Service Workers Worldwide Union Native 541. The native represents about two dozen valets who work on the observe.

SEIU officers gave the native permission to strike earlier this week.

The valets have been working with no contract since their settlement with the observe expired final October. The identical union represents the valets at Churchill-owned Turfway Park in Florence, Ky. That contract expired a yr in the past, simply months after Churchill took over possession from JACK Leisure.

Valets put together jockeys and horses for races and in addition maintain saddles and jockey gear. As racing is seasonal by location, a lot of them work a number of totally different tracks all year long.

As they remained on the job Friday, members of the Larger Louisville Central Labor Council stood exterior the observe and handed out leaflets to patrons coming into the observe. The leaflets suggested followers what would possibly occur if a strike takes place.

Churchill Downs Asks to Meet Subsequent Week

Churchill Downs provided the valets, pronounced with a tough “t,” what was thought of a best-and-final contract supply final week. Officers from the observe didn’t meet with union representatives on Friday. Nonetheless, observe officers reportedly advised the union they’d be prepared to proceed discussions subsequent week.

Union members rejected that overture.

Churchill Downs’ supply to fulfill subsequent week with out agreeing to make use of a mediator, and with no assurances that they’ll really transfer on any of their proposals, is unacceptable and insulting, particularly after they canceled our final assembly abruptly and refused to acknowledge our supply to finalize a deal,” SEIU Native 541 member Ronnie Shelton mentioned in an announcement.

Observe representatives declined to touch upon the pari-mutuel clerks’ resolution on Friday evening.

Sides Disagree on Wages, Pension, Staffing

There are a number of points that must be resolved between the valets and Churchill Downs.

First is pay. The valets need the identical charge at each Churchill Downs and Turfway. They need a three-year deal beginning at $120 per day. At the moment, they make $109 each day at Churchill and $16.77 an hour at Turfway. The corporate has provided wages at Churchill to stay the identical for the primary yr and for 25-cent hourly raises at Turfway.

The valets additionally need Churchill to extend contributions to the employees’ pension fund. At Turfway, valets get $5 a day towards their retirement profit, a contribution that has not modified in 22 years. Observe officers haven’t proposed any change in retirement, however they’ve provided a rise in trip accrual.

As well as, valets need Churchill to ensure staffing at sure ranges, together with 13 for many racing days and 20 for the Breeders’ Cup.

Churchill Downs has mentioned they haven’t any intention of decreasing staffing for valets. Nonetheless, they mentioned that’s contingent on the variety of horses that run on the observe.

The corporate additionally famous in an announcement earlier this week that the pay it provided would have made the valets the best-paid amongst tracks with related racing schedules within the area. It additionally has provided particular pay charges for the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby.

Additionally they say that valets have alternatives to receives a commission by jockeys for added work, and that revenue will develop because of the will increase in purses for the spring meet.

Firm officers have additionally mentioned union feedback concerning the observe producing revenues of greater than 41 billion final yr had been deceptive as a result of Churchill Downs Inc. reported a web lack of virtually $82 million final yr.

Potential Affect on Derby Betting

Whereas firm officers wouldn’t remark, the disruption triggered lack of pari-mutuel clerks to take wagers might curtail on-track betting for the Kentucky Derby, simply the most important day of the yr for Churchill Downs.

Nonetheless, on-track wagering solely represents a fraction of the entire deal with. In 2019, when a document $250.9 million was wagered on the Derby Day card, simply $21.three million was wager on the observe.

Churchill Downs additionally options banks of ATM-like automated machines to take wagers, and the observe might encourage followers to wager on races utilizing the TwinSpires advanced-deposit wagering (ADW) on-line platform. Nonetheless, ADW wagers would have an effect on how a lot cash horsemen obtain from the observe. The horsemen obtain a a lot bigger share of the takeout from wagers made on the observe.

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