Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Raceway disputes suit over $300,000

Bet machines focus of case

By Sheila McLaughlin smclaughlin@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON - The owners of Lebanon Raceway cheated employees out of more than $300,000 in sales from self-service betting machines, a lawsuit alleges.

        The track's business agent disputed that allegation Monday. Attorney William Kaufman said the complaint, filed last week in Warren County Common Pleas Court, is part of a lingering labor dispute involving employees who have been without a union contract since Dec. 31, 1999.

        “We've been aware that the position of the employees' association has been that they were entitled to a cut from the automated machines,” Mr. Kaufman said. “The management position is that they are not entitled to a cut of the machines for which they perform no service.”

        The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Lebanon Raceway Employees Association, names Miami Valley Trotting Inc. and Lebanon Trotting Club Inc. as defendants. The union represents bet takers and managers, money room staff and clerical workers.

        Union representatives couldn't be reached Monday.

        The lawsuit contends that the two sides are continuing to negotiate a contract and that management is bound to follow the same terms and conditions of the former agreement. That called for workers to be paid 1.1 percent of daily sales totals from customer purchase of betting slips, the complaint said.

        The betting machines were installed sometime after 1996 but before the contract expired, Mr. Kaufman said.

        “During the life of the agreement and since its expiration, the Company has failed to include in the daily sales figures, sales generated by the self-service,” the lawsuit said, adding that “the Company has understated the amount of pay association employees should have received by over $300,000.”

        The suit also claims that the company violated the union contract, as well as the federal Labor Management Relations Act. The association wants the money, interest, and attorney fees.

        However, Mr. Kaufman said track owners don't feel that they are obligated by any contract, because it expired three years ago.


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