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carolyn.dunderdale@ogs.ny.

gov

Office of General Services
41st Floor, Corning Tower
Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12242

New York State Gaming Commission


PO Box 7500
Schenectady, New York 12301-7500

CC: Joanne D. Yepsen, Mayor

Comments Regarding NYRA Saratoga Capital Improvements Proposal

The Hotel Trades Council represents 35,000 hospitality & gaming workers throughout New York and northern
New Jersey, including hundreds of workers employed at NYRA facilities by both NYRA and Centerplate a
vendor that provides food and other services at NYRA tracks.
As NYRA looks for approval to redevelop portions of the historic Saratoga track, HTC believes the State
Franchise Oversight Board and the Office of General Services should be aware of ongoing labor issues
involving workers employed at the track by Centerplate. While it is important that NYRA facilities undergo
appropriate renovations, giving NYRA the ability to spend tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money without
making sure the funds arent used to further exploit workers is ill advised.
Unlike most employers who act in good faith in their labor relations, it is our firm opinion that Centerplate does
not. Centerplate has refused to settle an arbitrators award which found them underpaying employees hourly
wages and cheating workers out of health care and pension benefits which they were contractually required to
pay. Moreover, Centerplate employees have been working without a contract for more then half a
year. Many employees earn less then $11.50/hour, or the wage Governor Cuomo has advocated for as the
States minimum. Furthermore, even many employees who have been with the company for more then ten
years have no sick days, no holidays and no vacation.
Just this past week, Centerplate threatened to unilaterally eliminate waiters in the luxury suites for the
upcoming Saratoga meet - the same luxury suites NYRA wishes to enhance something that the Union
considers to be an egregious unfair labor practice. The Union believes this action may be a retaliatory
response to these same waiters filing an arbitration to try and recover gratuities the Union contends were
misappropriated by Centerplate management
For an entity that exists solely thanks to taxpayer money and has been bailed out again an again by New
York State taxpayers the status quo behavior by management is simply unacceptable. It would be
unfathomable to award NYRA the ability to use additional taxpayer dollars to enhance its facilities before
Centerplate agrees to treat employees with dignity and respect they deserve.