Updated on 06/06/2012 3:51PM

Belmont Stakes 2012: NYRA, union reach agreement on three-year contract


ELMONT, N.Y. – The show will go on uninterrupted.

A threatened strike by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3 that could have threatened the running of Saturday’s Belmont Stakes was averted Wednesday when the two sides reached a tentative three-year agreement that runs through Feb. 28, 2014.

Specifics of the deal were not available, but according to a joint press release issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, the agreement addresses all the major economic issues, including shift schedules, benefits for active employees, as well as pension and retiree medical benefits.

"The Local 3 Negotiating Committee should be commended for protecting not only the jobs of their members, but their pension and welfare benefits as well," said Chris Erikson, business manager for Local 3.

Local 3 represents about 130 employees at Belmont Park, including those that work on the maintenance crew and the starting gate crew. They have been working without a contract for more than two years.

"We are pleased to announce that after several days of intense negotiations, NYRA and IBEW Local 3 have come to an agreement for the maintenance and assistant starters bargaining units," NYRA president and COO Ellen McClain said in a press release. "Now, together, we can focus exclusively on Saturday’s Belmont Stakes."

Local 3 claimed NYRA was seeking a 30 percent reduction in wages and health benefits. NYRA, which had stoked the flames during negotiations by saying a threatened strike would have been "self-serving" on the part of Local 3, has said it was seeking to reduce its medical benefit liability, which had nearly doubled over the past three years – from $61 million in 2008 to $121 million in 2011.

rvraynmary More than 1 year ago
thought they might hire scabs, sorta like the NFL is considering for its uppity refs, who are threatening a strike. wouldn't that have been fun.
john More than 1 year ago
The NYRA tracks are open Wed thru Sun, but the NYRA workweek goes from Mon thru Sun. The assistant starters work Mondays and Tuesdays schooling horses and breaking horses from the gate. Even though a lot of us work weekends at our jobs, this is unique in that it is a 7 seven day a week operation, with weekends being the busiest and everybody is required to work. Gotta be some OT somewhere in that mix.
Brian Russell More than 1 year ago
These guys were, and apparently now still are, getting overtime for Saturday and Sunday despite the fact their work week is Wednesday through Sunday. In other words, hour 1 of their 4th work day was overtime pay. This is a joke. Unfortunately, Scott Walker is not Governor of New York.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Brian, Local 3 is NOT made up of public workers as was the case in Wisconson. Your taxes do NOT go to Local 3 or it's members. Union members pay dearly to cover the cost of their own health and welfare programs. Atop this, Union Workers do not get paid for time lost to weather, vacation or layoffs (lack of work) and other things beyond their control, so what looks like a large hourly wage in reality gets pared down a LOT by the end of the year. Each point in the work agreement is negotiated by both sides, labor and management. So please get it straight before you go kicking Union Workers around. Dude, Union Workers brought you the WEEKEND! Enjoy it.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
I was sure the two sides would get this resolved before Saturday, especially with the Governor talking to both sides the other day. This is the biggest day of the year for the NYRA, no way were they going to risk losing revenue by not running the Belmont Stakes on it's originally scheduled day.
thomas j More than 1 year ago
Chris Erikson summed it quite well: "The Local 3 Negotiating Committee should be commended for protecting not only the jobs of their members, but their pension and welfare benefits as well," said Chris Erikson, business manager for Local 3. NYRA finally realized who is doing the actual work (not people sitting in an office) and now the Belmont Stakes can go on as planned. Kudos to both sides.
peter k More than 1 year ago
what fields
mikey More than 1 year ago
Well 2 of the biggest of shady guy's got together. Local 3 and NYRA DESERVE EACH OTHER. What is an electrical union doing reping a asst starter, maintenance worker's and teller's.NYRA can use some of the raised seat price's to pay the worker's.How do they feel having their feet held to the fire.PAYBACKIS A B----H.
ML-NJ More than 1 year ago
"What is an electrical union doing reping a asst starter" Same thing they do when they rep the guys who change the light bulbs on the scoreboard at Yankee Satdium.
Kalar Walters More than 1 year ago
So did the NYRA reduce its medical benefit liability? Lawd knows, gotta keep that 'level of dividend' up for those stockholders, doncha know. Can't have them selling off one of the family yachts or anything. It would be devastating. (Yeh, snarky...)
Kalar Walters More than 1 year ago
Having said that, I'm glad the Belmont Stakes will proceed and I hope the union got at least something out of the deal that they wanted.
John More than 1 year ago
The issue was always whether the horses would cross the picket line. I don't think they would have because they are not charged a co pay for all the medications they are given
Dave Schuler More than 1 year ago
Gene Kline said i got out of football and into horse racing -because i never had a HORSE FILE A GRIEVANCE AGAINST ME-amen-lolk-DS
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
That Lukas horse just did!