The high hopes expressed Wednesday for a settlement of the strike by employees against Maryland's three major racetracks failed to materialize today.
However, another meeting is scheduled at 11 a.m. Friday in the office of Baltimore Mayor William Donald Schaefer.
"We had an Easter egg hunt in that room and no one found the golden egg," declared Chick Lang, general manager of Pimlico.
A $2 a day difference continued to separate the union and the tracks in their negotiations, held in the office of a federal mediator.
"I've made two moves two days in a row," said Al Akman, president of Local 692, Retail Store Employees Union. "They haven't moved.We're not accomplishing anything, in my opinion."
Sander Wise, the attorney for Pimlico, Bowie and Laurel, said, "We labored long and hard today, and continued to explore various possibilities but were unable to reach a settlement."
The tracks insist that Akman's "two new proposals" are not new.Reports early this week had the union seeking a $9.73 a day raise in a three-year package while the tracks offered $6.50. Akman today confirmed he also had submitted a two-year contract proposal.
Today's only positive comment came from state labor mediator Harvey Epstein, who said, "I fully expect the Preakness to be held in Maryland. I am confident both sides will come to their senses."
The Preakness is scheduled for May 21. Pimlico officials have indicated the race will be shifted to New York own or about April 15 if the strike is not settled. A track spokesman also indicated they will cancel the remainder of the meeting (through May 31) if the Preakness cannot be saved.
"I don't know what the mayor can do for us," Akman warned. "The problem continues to be fringe benefits such as health and welfare vacation, said holidays and sick pay."