A tentative agreement has been reached between union workers and the New York Racing Association, ending a two year labor dispute that could have disrupted I’ll Have Another’s quest for the Triple Crown on Saturday.
“I don’t know the details of it. I just know a deal has been struck and they’re working it out to sign things and are trying to get it ratified today,” said Vincent McElroen, financial secretary of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3. “We look forward to putting the horses in the gate on Saturday.”
Members of the union were authorized in April to go on strike after they were unable to reach an agreement with the New York Racing Association regarding scheduling and wage disputes. NYRA warned that the union could strike before this weekend, disrupting the prime time race.
The NYRA’s last best offer was a 30 percent reduction in wages and benefits, McElroen told ABCNews.com on Tuesday.
The NYRA has also changed the workweek for union members at its three tracks of Belmont, Aqueduct and Saratoga, he said. The work week had been Monday to Friday, but was changed to Wednesday through Sunday — effectively stripping them of the overtime they used to earn for working weekend events. No races are run at NYRA tracks on Mondays and Tuesdays.
The highly-anticipated Belmont Stakes, called “The Test of Champions” will draw an estimated 100,000 fans. Millions more will be watching on TV as I’ll Have Another tries to become the first thoroughbred to win the Triple Crown since 1978.