Local 727 Hawthorne Race Track Members Secure Benefits Over Winter Months

| November 5, 2020

On November 1st, Hawthorne Race Track Parkers, Starters, and Valets unanimously ratified a sixteen-month contract which will secure Employer contributions to the Teamsters Local 727 Health and Welfare, Pension, and Legal & Educational Assistance Funds during the winter months of January and February when the Track is closed; this term purposely coincides with the building of an on-site Casino, already in development. This deal was reached, in part, as a result of hard choices made by the members of this bargaining unit who have continuously done what is best for both each other and for the Track itself.

Over a decade ago, Local 727 and the Track agreed to an interest arbitration regarding the wages of employees at HRC and the wages of employees at other horse tracks across the country. Local 727 was successful in the case and was awarded a settlement which would increase wages at HRC, however, due to the dreadful financial state of racing in Illinois at that time, HRC was not in a position to increase wages. As a result, both parties agreed that when the Track was able to bring gaming to the facility, they would honor the arbitration decision. For years, this language remained in the CBA, and the bargaining unit agreed to take pay freezes to help keep the Track afloat during the lean years. Despite the first pull of a slot machine being at least a year away, the bargaining unit agreed to forgo any retro pay in exchange for the Track paying full-time contributions on behalf of each of the active Starters and Valets, as well as three furloughed parking attendants, for the months of January and February 2021, securing health care and the other benefits for the entire group.
In October, Hawthorne Race Course kicked-off their 35-day fall thoroughbred horse meet. Employees returned to limited crowds of up to 250 spectators on any given race day (in November this number decreased to half of that amount in order to comply with current COVID-19 restrictions). Changes abound at the Track which has been open since 1891 and continuously operated by the Carey family for the past 111 years. This past summer, the State of Illinois approved HRC’s Casino license and they are currently developing a 40,000 square foot casino, 1,150 slot positions, 50 table and poker games, a 300-room casino hotel and conference center, a 140,000 square foot entertainment center, between 8 and 12 restaurants, a movie theater, bowling lounge, water park, and 4,800 seat outdoor subterranean amphitheater.
With these additions, Hawthorne is truly investing in the future of Illinois Thoroughbred Racing. Revenue generated through the Casino will help fuel Illinois racing in the years to come as purse sizes increase and attract top horse owners and trainers to the Track.

Questions should be directed to Business Agent Nick Micaletti at (847) 696-7500 or [email protected].

Nothing in this article should be read as the union’s waiver of any legal argument, position or grievance(s), or as a waiver of any rights, arguments, or defenses under any contract, collective bargaining agreement, or applicable law. The union does not forfeit its right to make any and all supplemental arguments.


Category: Union News

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