You are not signed into the members only section. Please sign in for all content.
Extortion, Accusation an Outrage! - Editorial Comment
On June 6th, the New York Daily News ran an editorial pertaining to the negotiations that were taking place between Local 3 IBEW and NYRA. They portrayed the Union’s position as “Ahem extortion.”
This was an outright attempt to develop sympathy for the management of NYRA.
The backdrop was the running of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 9. At the time “I’ll Have Another” was in contention for becoming the first Triple Crown winner in 27 years.
The New’s aligning itself with management without discussion with Local 3 to determine the facts of the situation, besmirched not just the workers at Belmont and Local 3 as “extortionists,” but the entire collective bargaining process. This is an outrage.
It is well understood in labor law that workers as well as employers are free to utilize whatever economic pressure they can muster in order to move the collective bargaining process forward.
Local 3’s members who work at Belmont, Aqueduct and Saratoga have been quite reasonable in the recent negotiations. Indeed they were essentially working without an agreement for over one year. Their agreement expired in February 2010 and they agreed to extend that agreement through February 2011. They negotiated with NYRA from February 2011 through February 2012 when NYRA implemented unilaterally new terms and conditions upon these workers.
In response Local 3 continued to negotiate with NYRA regarding the unilateral changes, right up until three days prior to the running of the Belmont Stakes when an agreement was reached. The members voted to strike in April. The authorization was open-ended without any deadline for which an agreement had to be reached.
NYRA set the tone with the public that a strike was imminent that would interrupt the running of the race, NOT LOCAL 3.
One can only presume NYRA did so in an attempt to get the public to rally against the workers in their effort to obtain a fair contract. The Daily News picked up on NYRA’s spin and portrayed the Union unjustly as attempting to “Ahem extort.” This irresponsible position did nothing to assist in reaching an agreement but only inflamed parties involved and the general public on a falsehood.
The NY Daily News owes the membership of Local 3 an apology, however, don’t hold your breath!
Fortunately a strike was averted.
Unfortunately, “I’ll Have Another” was scratched. So all the hoopla surrounding the possibility of a Triple Crown winner was dashed – not due to any action of Local 3, but by the trainer.
Ironically, “Union Rags” won the race.