Sellers' NLRB Claim Against Churchill Downs Withdrawn

A claim filed by jockey Shane Sellers with the National Labor Relations Board in connection with his removal from Churchill Downs Nov. 7 has been withdrawn, an NLRB official confirmed Dec. 2.

Gary Muffley, director of NLRB Region 9, which has offices in Cincinnati, Ohio, said Sellers withdrew the charge. Sellers claimed Churchill engaged in unfair labor practices when he was handcuffed and ejected from the grounds after he had discussions with other jockeys about insufficient on-track medical insurance coverage.

Sellers, who currently isn't riding, is a member of the Jockeys' Guild. He served as the Churchill Downs delegate in 2003. Sellers, in his claim to the NLRB, said he attended a Nov. 5 meeting of some jockeys at the Louisville, Ky., track at the request of another rider. Insurance and safety were among the issues discussed at the meeting.

The claim said Sellers attended another meeting at Churchill Nov. 7 at the request of another rider, and ultimately was removed from the premises. Later that day, 14 jockeys were ejected from Churchill when they refused to commit to accept mounts for subsequent programs.

The claim referred to Churchill as Sellers' "employer," though Churchill and other racetracks have argued that jockeys are independent contractors. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association Jockeys' Medical Insurance Panel has issued several consensus points, among them that jockeys should be considered independent contractors, not employees of racetracks.

The NLRB is a federal agency charged with investigating and enforcing federal law governing labor-management relations. The organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C., has 34 regional offices in the United States.

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