01/25/2010 12:00AM

Agreement increases Fairmount dates


The Illinois Racing Board and negotiators for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees reached a compromise Sunday night on the number of days for which six Fairmount Park racing officials would be paid this year, an agreement that will allow Fairmount to host a 52-day race meet in 2010.

An initial deadline for an agreement between the state racing board and union negotiators passed earlier this month, and had the two sides not struck a deal, Fairmount would have raced just three days in 2010.

The racing board issued 2010 Illinois racing dates in September, awarding Fairmount a 52-day meet with two contingencies: The Illinois legislature had to pass a law increasing the tax rate the track would pay to support the racing board's functions, and the six union employees would have to agree to a reduced work schedule. With the Sunday-night agreement, both conditions now have been met.

The union employees had initially requested to be paid for 130 days of work during the 52-day meet, but finally agreed to 75 days of work in 2010, according to Marc Laino, executive director of the Illinois Racing Board.