Victory

NYRA and NYTHA: Restore onsite healthcare for backstretch workers at Saratoga Racecourse!

This petition made change with 212 supporters!


Reduction of funds from NYRA (New York Racing Association) over the course of several years has reached a point where it is no longer  possible to run an on-site medical clinic at Saratoga Racecourse during 2018 “shoulder seasons” (April 15-July 19; Sept. 4-Nov. 15), before and after the summer meet.  BEST (Backstretch Employees Support Team), the organization that has run this clinic for the past decade in collaboration with the Saratoga Community Health Center, is facing severe challenges in meeting the medical needs of track workers under the reduced funding.

According to a report in the Times Union (Albany, NY, May 3, 2018), NYRA cut funding for the BEST clinic by $200,000 in 2017 and again by the same amount in 2018.  Meanwhile, NYRA, “which handles more than $2.5 billion in wagers” (Times Union editorial, May 4, 2018), is pouring $14 million into  improvement of track facilities for Saratoga patrons in this year alone.  Upgrading guest amenities while downgrading services to workers is unjust, inhumane and unreasonable even from a business perspective.  If the health of the workers is not maintained, the health of the business is sure to suffer.

In quoted remarks, NYRA President and CEO Christopher Kay has suggested that NYTHA (New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association) could pick up more of the tab for the backstretch clinic.  Workers should not have to suffer while these organizations fight over their responsibility for what amounts to a small fraction of the financial resources available to NYRA management and NYTHA membership.  We demand restoration of funding for the backstretch clinic NOW!

SHAME ON NYRA and NYTHA for playing budget games at the expense of workers’ welfare.  While these workers live in our communities, we value them as our neighbors, and we will always value them as members of the human family.  We will not forget them and we will continue to demand that their employers treat them with fairness and respect.

Sources:

https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Backstretch-workers-going-without-healthcare-12881918.php

https://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/Editorial-Saratoga-s-ungilded-age-12886010.php

 

 



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