Yonkers Raceway Workers Hit the Jackpot!

April 30, 2019 8:35 AM

Wages to Double in Less Than a Year in Their New Contract!

Yonkers Raceway workers got great news in March, when they received their first HTC contract — a deal that will double their wages in a year, bring strong job protections, provide a pension, ensure seniority and do so much more.

Yonkers Raceway workers were members of Local 100, which graciously transferred their jurisdiction to the Hotel Trades Council out of recognition of the fact that HTC has become the preeminent union in the gaming industry in New York.

"When we approached Local 100 about our belief that we could negotiate a contract at Yonkers Raceway that would bring the food and beverage employees to parity with the employees at Resorts World Queens they acted in the best interest of their members," HTC President Peter Ward said. "We applaud Bill Granfield and Local 100 for their tremendous solidarity."

Over the life of the contract, which runs until 2026, HTC's new members at Yonkers Raceway will receive an extraordinary boost in earning. And they won't have to wait very long for some of these substantial wage hikes. As an example, the wages of cooks earning $17.16 an hour will jump immediately to $26.23 an hour! Later this year, on October 18, their hourly wage will increase to $27.23, and on January 1, 2020, their wages will go up again, to $36.29 an hour. Yes, that means their pay will increase more than $19 an hour — a staggering 112% — in less than a year.

There are similar big wage hikes for other HTC members at Yonkers Raceway. Food servers will see their hourly rate of $8.00 shoot up to $13.60 immediately, then $14.10 on October 18, 2019, and $19.70 on January 1, 2020. Further wage increases will follow and, on October 15, 2025, food servers' wages will rise to $22.70 an hour, a 183% increase over the life of the contract!

Kitchen workers' wages will jump immediately from the current $14.48 an hour to $24.21. On October 18, 2019, their wages will increase to $25.21 and on January 1, 2020 they will be earning $34.95 an hour, an amazing 141% in only nine months! There will be other wage hikes along the way, and on October 15, 2025, kitchen workers' wages will rise to $40.95 an hour, for a total increase of 182% over the life of the contract!

But wages aren't the only areas where the workers will be winning big under an HTC contract. Their family healthcare plan will continue at no cost. They will receive a pension — vested after five years, meaning they will receive a defined, guaranteed monthly benefit determined by their age and years of service at retirement. They will have access to the Pre-Paid Legal Fund and the Training and Scholarship Fund. They will be able to take advantage of the option to use pre-tax income to pay for their rail and bus fares.

Other items in the new union contract at Yonkers Raceway are familiar to all HTC members. There are paid vacations, nine paid holidays, three paid personal days, seven paid sick days (eight paid sick days after three years of employment). HTC members at Yonkers will also receive paid time off for jury duty and bereavement.

Under the HTC contract the Yonkers employees will have scheduling rights and guarantees of a full day's pay when called into work. They will also have the guarantee under the contract to be treated by management with dignity and respect. Here's how a contract booklet distributed to Yonkers Raceway employees by HTC describes this element of the agreement: "The foremost right of all HTC-represented employees is the right to be treated with dignity and respect at work. This (contractual) article prohibits managerial harassment and abuse of employees in any way, and it requires that management treat employees with professionalism and respect."

There's more. The contract has fierce protections against changes in ownership or management, and it strongly guards against the use of subcontractors to do HTC members' work without an agreement with the union.

There are also protections for immigrants. HTC members at Yonkers have protections in matters regarding immigration status and language needs. It also prevents management from misusing immigration laws to threaten or retaliate against workers.

There are still other worker protections for Yonkers Raceway employees with which all HTC members should be familiar. There are prohibitions against overtime and combination jobs while there are employees on layoff, and there are protections against spotters, breakages, shortages and walkouts.

The HTC contract provides Yonkers Raceway employees with exceedingly strong grievance and arbitration rights, protections for union delegates, and still other guarantees. Indeed, it will have a beneficial life-changing effect on Yonkers employees and their families.

"We warmly welcome the workers at Yonkers Raceway into our union," said HTC President Peter Ward. "We — and they — owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Local 100, which allowed a shift in jurisdiction to HTC out of recognition of our union's strength in the gaming industry. That gracious gesture by Local 100 and its President, Bill Granfield, will have a profound impact on the dedicated and hard-working employees of Yonkers Raceway."

Yonkers Raceway employees celebrating their new HTC contract with HTC Vice President Steve Miller and HEAT Organizers Juana Velez and Tyrone Connell.