As layoff notices go out, Arlington Park also plans to bring on temps to work final Million Day

  • Arlington Park President Tony Petrillo confirmed Tuesday that layoff notices were sent to some 300 track employees over the weekend, in anticipation of the track's closure.

    Arlington Park President Tony Petrillo confirmed Tuesday that layoff notices were sent to some 300 track employees over the weekend, in anticipation of the track's closure. Daily Herald File Photo, 2011

 
 
Updated 7/27/2021 4:31 PM

Arlington Park officials said Tuesday their notice to some 300 employees of upcoming layoffs was done to be in compliance with state and federal laws.

Under the Illinois Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, employers with at least 75 full-time employees are required to give workers and state and local government officials 60 days' notice of a business closing or mass layoff.

 

"Churchill Downs Incorporated has made public the intent to sell the Arlington Park property, and while that process remains ongoing, the company must adhere to employment law in observing these standard requirements and practices," racetrack President Tony Petrillo said in a statement released Tuesday.

The reduction in force takes effect after the final racing date Sept. 25, Petrillo said.

Petrillo confirmed in an interview that the layoff notices were sent to both non-unionized and unionized employees, including those in three unions that represent pari-mutuel clerks, in-house broadcast TV employees, electricians, racing valets, starting gate workers, program sellers, parking lot attendants and food service workers.

Pre-pandemic, Arlington employed more than 1,000 to staff a regular season, but this year it has only about 300 on staff, Petrillo said.

He said he's planning to bring on "a multitude" of one-day temporary workers to help staff the final Arlington Million Day on Saturday, Aug. 14. That will allow the track to increase capacity from 7,500 to 10,000.

"That's our constraint is the ability to bring on enough people," Petrillo said. "Everybody's facing the same thing."

And while some have held out hope that Arlington might still apply for 2022 race dates by the Illinois Racing Board's Friday deadline, Petrillo said as of Tuesday afternoon, an application hadn't been completed. He said the plan remains for this to be the final year of racing at the historic oval.

"We did not pull an application," Petrillo said. "The racing board sends them annually to all previous applicants. We received them, but not by our request."

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