Union Desires Churchill Downs to Bolster Pay for Monitor Valets


Posted on: April 24, 2021, 07:18h. 

Final up to date on: April 24, 2021, 07:41h.

Union members stood outdoors of Churchill Downs on a wet Saturday afternoon protesting a contract deadlock between the Louisville-based firm and greater than a dozen staff who assist put together jockeys and horses for races.

Churchill Downs Valet
Members of SEIU Native 541 and different unions stood outdoors of Churchill Downs on Saturday calling for the Louisville firm to proceed bargaining talks with the union representing valets that work on the firm’s flagship racetrack. (Picture: SEIU Native 541)

Officers with Service Workers Worldwide Union Native 541 stated in an announcement that it might result in a “main disruption” throughout Kentucky Derby week, particularly since Churchill Downs made its last supply final week.

A valet, pronounced with a tough ‘t,’ is chargeable for saddling horses earlier than every race, together with placing the right weights in saddle pockets. Additionally they get the jockeys’ silks prepared earlier than every race and care for the tools for the jockeys and horses between races.

The contract between Churchill Downs and the native expired final October, that means valets labored final 12 months’s fall meet and not using a labor settlement. Saturday begins the start of the observe’s spring meet, which runs by means of June 26.

The valets even have labored and not using a contract at Churchill Downs-owned Turfway Park, the place the collective bargaining settlement on the Erlanger, Ky., observe ended greater than a 12 months in the past. Churchill Downs Inc. purchased Turfway from JACK Leisure in October 2019.

SEIU Desires Similar Pay at Churchill Downs, Turfway

Beneath the outdated contracts, the valets earned $109 a day at Churchill Downs and $16.77 an hour at Turfway, the place the speed has been in place since 2008. The employees additionally get $10.75 a day towards their pension at Churchill, they usually obtain $5 per day at Turfway, a profit the union stated has not modified in 22 years.

The union desires valets to earn $120 a day at each tracks, retroactive to final 12 months, with $5 per day will increase the following two years. Churchill administration has countered with the speed staying the identical at the Louisville observe this 12 months and growing to $115 and $120 in subsequent years. At Turfway, firm officers have proposed 25-cent will increase for every year, that means the third-year hourly charge could be $17.52 an hour.

On pensions, SEIU members need a 25-cent/per day enhance for every year, that means within the third 12 months, the observe would contribute $11.50 per day to every employee’s pension fund. At Turfway, they need the pension contribution to double within the first 12 months to $10 per day, with 75-cent will increase within the following years, which might then make them degree with the Churchill Downs contribution.

Churchill Downs has proposed no modifications to the pension fund at both observe.

The valets additionally need staffing ensures of 13 per race day. As well as, they need 20 for the Breeders’ Cup and about 24 for the Derby.

Valets work 70 days in the course of the 12 months at Churchill Downs and 50 at Turfway. Additionally they work at different tracks in the course of the 12 months, however they have to pay for their very own journey and lodging.

Valets’ Union: Something’s Attainable

David O’Brien Suetholz, a lawyer representing the union, stated that the members are preserving their choices open.

We’ve been clear the valets are going to work tonight, however we’re preserving our powder dry,” he informed On line casino.org.

After Saturday, racing resumes on the observe on Tuesday. The Kentucky Derby will run subsequent Saturday.

Late Wednesday, Churchill Downs Inc. introduced its first-quarter outcomes for 2021. The corporate reported web revenues of $324.3 million and web revenue of $36.1 million from the racetracks, casinos, and on-line platforms it owns and operates.

Union leaders famous the margin in pay between CEO Invoice Carstanjen and the median wage of different full-time staff on the observe was greater than 400-to-1 final 12 months.

“The common valets who guarantee protected and truthful races at Churchill Downs’ racetracks contribute mightily to the corporate’s billion-dollar success,” SEIU Native 541 stated in an announcement to On line casino.org. “They deserve job safety and a wage that’s a minimum of $20 per hour.  When the corporate will pay $10 million for its CEO, it might pay the lads who correctly saddle the horses a simply wage.”

A message to Churchill Downs Inc. in search of remark Saturday afternoon was not instantly returned.

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