Mutuel clerks at Laurel Raceway are scheduled to vote Monday night on a contract amendment for more pay that will decide whether quinella wagering is offered on the Maryland harness racing circuit.
Also in the management proposal, as described by Gil Feldman, vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, is an offer that could settle out of court a year-old wage dispute.
The vote by approximately 275 clerks is to take place the windows open for the night's first race, which begins Laurel's 85-night summer meeting.
Feldman said yesterday the union - Local 692-will present the proposal to its rank and file without recommending acceptance or refusal.
If the union members reject the proposal, there will be no quinella betting. Feldman also indicated there is a remote possibility of a walkout by the clerks.
"Up until now this is the only offer we've even agreed to take to our membership," Feldman said. "We're going to explain it to them under the condition that we are neither recommending they accept it nor recommending they turn it down.
"Either way, we're leaving it totally up to the guy who is going to work behind the windows."
The addition of quinella wagering would mean that approximately 100 clerks will be using five-way machines, selling straight win, place and show tickets as well as those for exactas and quinellas. A Quinella wager sells for $2 and calls for the bettor to select the first two horses of a race in either order.
Currently pending in Federal Court is an order to arbitrate nearly $50,000 the union claims the track owes 77 of its members for selling mutiple-pool tickets under the existing contract.
That figure covers both last year's and this season's meeting. Laurel management has appealed the arbitration ruling, but the appeal is not scheduled for a court review until October.
Management included the $50,000 in its latest offer, which was presented to union officials Friday, Feldman said. The union will vote to accept both the back payment and the pay proposed for quinella wagering or reject both, he explained.
"Right now I have no idea what our rank and file will do," he said. "They may take anything, or they may say no to everything."
Bill Alcron, new general manager at Laurel, said he felt management's offer would help promote a "harmonious relationship" with track worker.
"We feel our proposal will resolve any eifferences in the union's interpretation with the laws of the contract," Alcron said. "Our position is that we have made an offer in good faith to present to the union for a vote.
"Hopefully, they will agree that it's fair and will accept it, so we may improvise quinella wagering. We won't be able to afford to go with it unless the union accepts the proposal."
If the offer is accepted, Laurel will begin quinella wagering Monday night. Post time is 8 p.m.