We suspect after what’s expected to be a humiliating defeat tonight in Wisconsin that these union clowns will step back from the ledge. But considering their short-sightedness they may well enter into a suicide pact by moving to strike at Belmont Park prior to Saturday’s much-anticipated race when I’ll Have Another has a shot at the first Triple Crown in 34 years.
A down-to-the-wire labor dispute is threatening to stop I’ll Have Another’s Triple Crown chances at the Belmont Stakes.
The union representing the maintenance crew and starters at the famed track could go on strike Friday — a day before the Thoroughbred attempts what no horse has done since 1978.
The New York Racing Association — which was taken over by Gov. Cuomo last week after a string of embarrassments — has been in contract negotiations with IBEW Local 3 for two years.
But with more than 120,000 racing fans expected at Belmont Park and millions watching on TV this Saturday, the stakes have never been higher.
“They’ve taken a strike vote two weeks ago and have authorization to go on strike,” Local 3 business manager Chris Erikson said.
“I’m not saying they will. It’s up to NYRA, but the membership is authorized to strike. Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail.”
NYRA issued an angry statement Monday night denouncing the strike threat. “It is extremely self-serving for Local 3 to use the attention and excitement of a Triple Crown attempt to further its own agenda,” the statement said.
Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee Chairman Gary Pretlow (D-Westchester) wasn’t aware of the threatened strike but equated it to “blackmail.”
“They know this could be the biggest day in NYRA history,” Pretlow said.
“To threaten to do this when there are 104,000 people expected at Belmont . . . to threaten a strike in a noncontract period is the ultimate in blackmail. They wouldn’t dare do that.”