Christie Comments On Meadowlands Impasse

Published: April 15, 2011 06:14 pm EDT

As the clock continues to tick in regard to the future of the Meadowlands Racetrack, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has gone on the record regarding the inaction of the union representing the track's pari-mutuel tellers


Christie had given prospective Meadowlands lessee Jeff Gural until today (Friday, April 15) to hammer out a deal to take over operating control of the racetrack. Gural has noted that all major hurdles have been addressed, although, on Thursday, April 14 Local 137 failed to ratify Gural’s offer to the pari-mutuel tellers, thus putting the future of the racetrack into extreme peril. In turn, Gural responded to the union’s position in a release.

Via a release from the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which currently operates the Meadowlands Racetrack, Christie has gone on the record in regard to the impasse.

The contents of the NJSEA’s Friday, April 15 release, which was issued by the Meadowlands Racetrack’s media department, appears below.

One Meadowlands Racetrack Union Imperils Deal to Save Standardbred Racing;
Governor Expresses Grave Concern Over Union Inaction and Consequences

Governor Chris Christie today called Thursday's inaction by the union representing the mutuel clerks at Meadowlands Racetrack on a proposal from prospective track operator Jeff Gural a potentially fatal obstacle to continuing racing operations at the East Rutherford facility.

In the face of unsustainable racetrack losses, and the recognition that jobs and livelihoods could nonetheless be saved, substantial progress had been made to save standardbred racing in negotiations with Mr. Gural. That progress included the overwhelming acceptance by another racetrack union of new contract provisions.

Said Governor Christie: "Apparently, one group has decided on its own to put at risk the livelihoods of many others. We were patient and accommodating, but these deadlines for achieving self-sustaining horse racing are very real. This is an unfortunate outcome to say the least."

The failure of Local 137 to vote will trigger the following consequences, which Local 137 was keenly aware would occur: Live racing at the Meadowlands Racetrack will not resume on May 7 as previously scheduled. Meadowlands simulcasting will cease as of May 12. Racetrack employees were issued notices March 8 of potential layoffs as required by law, and absent a vote by Local 137, those layoffs will commence on May 12, the first date for which the legal cessation of all operations at the racetrack can now occur.

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