10/07/2010 3:05PM

Union votes in favor of New York OTB deal

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Members of the union representing the majority of New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation’s 1,300 workers have approved an agreement that will provide severance payments to an estimated 550 employees who will be laid off under a proposed reorganization plan, according to the union.

Voting was conducted on the agreement on Wednesday, with 271 members voting to accept the plan and 139 voting to reject it. Under the plan, full-time workers will receive $12,000 in severance pay if they agree to leave the company.

Acceptance of the agreement is a critical step in the reorganization of New York City OTB, which filed for bankruptcy last year. Now that the union has agreed to the cuts, the proposal can be packaged with a larger reorganization plan that must be approved by the OTB’s creditors’ committee, which includes the New York Racing Association and other racetrack operators in the state.

Although officials involved in the reorganization have declined to comment on the plan, a report on the union’s website said that the plan envisions the transfer of New York City OTB’s account-wagering operation to NYRA and other creditors.

Also under the plan, the union said that the Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing industries will accept a $30 million cut in statutorily mandated annual payments from the OTB company. The Thoroughbred racing industry has been generally receptive to the plan, but the harness industry has resisted several of the plan’s provisions, which may complicate final approval of the reorganization.