Gural Issues Statement Regarding Tellers

Published: April 15, 2011 03:18 pm EDT

In light of the Meadowlands Racetrack's unionized pari-mutuel tellers not ratifying Jeff Gural's offer to them last night, Gural released a statement on the issue this afternoon


Today (Friday, April 15) is the drop-dead date for a deal to be struck between Gural and the tellers, who are represented by Local 137. The Meadowlands' foreseeable future hinges on both sides being able to come to an agreement. If no such agreement can be achieved, there is scheduled to be a very small mini-meet around the Hambletonian, but anything beyond that would be speculative.

The contents of Gural's statement appear below.

Obviously, I am very disappointed with the vote yesterday by the tellers not to ratify the proposal we gave them to extend their contract three years at the expiration of the existing contract next February.

This is extremely disappointing considering I have actually raised the money which I thought was the hard part. I believe we are very close to an agreement with the state with only two or three open points remaining.

At this point, I think we have to assume that the Meadowlands will not reopen for racing on May 7 unless the tellers reconsider.

I am looking into the possibility of relocating the Graduate and the Cutler Memorial stakes races which were originally scheduled to be raced at the Meadowlands on May 7 with a final on May 14 to the other tracks that I own.

I would recommend making the payments for those two races that are due today and the money will be refunded if the race is cancelled. I am actually on my way to Vernon for opening night. I will discuss this with the horsemen at both Tioga and Vernon to see if we can come up with something as I think it would be unfair at this late date to cancel those two races.

Hopefully the tellers will have a change of heart but in the meantime I think it would be prudent to assume that the facility will not reopen for racing on May 7.

I would like to thank the many horsemen who contributed to this effort financially as we raised close to $1,000,000 to cover the costs associated with trying to keep the Meadowlands open. I am very sorry that this effort did not end the way we had all hoped but it is not for lack of effort.

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It's very simple. You have a group thats willing to take a shot to turn around a losing operation. In order to do that, They need help from EVERYONE. That includes the tellers. I actually think we should prase the group lead be Mr. Gural for even wanting to take on this track considering the last few years there and the current situation in New Jersey.

I personally would pull out and let the tellers try to find work elsewhere.

I may be time to let the Meadowlands go and focus on the other operations and make the changes needed to keep Harness Racing alive...

In reply to by c.a.r.

It's not just about the tellers union not "voting" to take a pay cut. You can't expect all the other unions to agree to take a pay cut & tellers's an all or none situation. Can you blame Gural & his investors for trying to keep their losses down to a minimum? They are going to lose millions over the first few years of operation. They are only asking for a 3 year commitment....really 2 considering that the cuts do not take effect until the original contract expires. When or if they get the slots or a casino @ the Meadowlands I'm sure the unions will be getting their slice of the pie.

We never really see what goes on behind the scenes. Has Gural given any thought to Revenue sharing?
If the track makes money then the employees come out ahead as well.
Perhaps have a union person sit on the BOD along side Gural?
Although unions have their faults they have over the years brought about good things, health & safety, equalities among hiring practices, etc.
We should be asking why the Meadowlands is being denied slots/racino at this facility?

C.Renon Really people the amount of savings from the tellers taking a pay cut is only a drop in the bucket, through history it has been proven pay cuts save no man's job. The real issue here is what Mr. Christie and his wealthy associates really want to do with the land the meadowlands sits on and saving racing really was not THEIR plan! I envision a major casino convention center and shopping mall.

Just another example of why I love working without the burdon of a union.

Simply put.. This situation is about money. Would I be ticked off at a 20% wage cut, I would be. What's the alternative though, having no job??

Unions almost killed the US auto industry, now possibly the Meadowlands. Great job folks!!

Leave the tellers alone, why should the people at the low end of the pay scale be asked to save harness racing at the Meadowlands??? It is rediculous!! Why not ask the trainers to give back 1 or 2% of their earnings? or come up with something creative...but ask the tellers to take a pay cut.....COME ON!

How can the future of The Meadowlands depend on wheather or not the tellers take a 20% pay cut??? I must be missing something?

Please stop getting taken in by Mr.Christie or his Sycophants. It was "pre ordained" that the Meadowlands would be closed, the action by the Tellers or anyone else was and is immaterial.I thought whipping boys went out after the 15th Century!!

As a owner of 15 standardbreds Jeff I like to thank you for all your hard work on trying to save the Meadowlands.
I had planned to start my 3yr. old Big Jim at the Meadowlands this year but it now looks as if I will have to go to plan B and start elsewhere.
I am sure that this will have a severe effect on harness racing and the breeding industry in New Jersey in the very short future.
I know that I am thinking different about racing as a result of this decision as at least 50% of my 2 year olds are New Jersey bred and all the people who supported New Jersey are sure going to suffer as I am sure they just can't move their operation and families overnight to another jurisdiction.
I am sure that the government will regret loosing this sport in New Jersey and the spin off as a result of no racing at the Meadowlands will be felt by us all no matter where we race or breed.
Again Jeff thanks for stepping up to the plate as I am sure you have spent countless hours in trying to help save this industry.

Why are the horsemen taking it in the ear and not everybody equally. Dont open tommorrow for simulcasting , dont wait til May 7th get it over with now. I have no idea why the horsemen are the targets of this labor negotiations and the large income stream from simulcasting keeps rolling in. I dont think there is a teller who cares whether there are live horses racing at the Meadowlands on May 7th but they would care if you closed the facility to all activities tonight at midnight. Stop throwing the horsemen under the bus Governor Christie and start being transparent about where all the money that is generated from the Meadowlands ends up.

I find it curious that security votes in favour of a cut to preserve their jobs, while the tellers have no such interest.

Turn out the lights...

The party's over.. They say that all good things must end. Lets call it a night, the party's over and then we'll never see things like this again.