Members of striking Local 692, Retail Store Employees Union, will meet Monday night to vote on a three-year contract offered by Pimlico, Bowie and Laurel.
"It's a vote-of-confidence meeting for our president, Al Akman, more than anything else," Bill Brown, a team captain, declared yesterday at the union control center opposite the Pimlico backstretch. "The tracks' offer is $2.50, $2 and $2 (a day) increases over three years. We've canvassed more than 200 of our members and we're sure it will be rejected by at least a 7 to 3 ratio."
Monday's meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the Union Hall, 305 West Monument St.
When the members of the local voted to authorize a strike, one March 1, the count was 430 to 39 against accepting an a two-year offer by the tracks of $2.50 and $1.25 a day increase.
The union has reduced its demands in recent weeks from $12.50 to $9.73 over three years. Improved health and welfare benefits continue to be at the heart of the stalemate in negotiations.
There has been no thoroughbred racing in Maryland since March 11 at Bowie. The strike by track employees began March 12 after an attempt by federal and state mediators to solve the differences between the sides failed.
Pimlico was to have opened March 21. Officials of the local course have indicated the entire meeting (through May 31) will be canceled if an agreement with its workers can not be completed by April 15-18. If the strike continues past that point the world-famous Preakness Stakes, middle event in the American Triple Crown for 3-year-old, will be transferred to New York.
The State Racing Commission has scheduled a public hearing at its offices here Tuesday at 10 a.m. All principals in the strike are expected to attend. Should there be no progress at that session, Pimlico intends to appeal to its employees to return to work, across picket lines.