Leaders of the Jockeys' Guild and Teamsters Union met Wednesday in San Diego to discuss how the two organizations can work together to advance the mutual interests of their members in the horseracing industry.
"The members of the Jockeys' Guild and the members of the Teamsters Union can, through their joint efforts, accomplish significant improvements in the wages and working conditions of track employees and jockeys," stated a Teamsters press release Wednesday. "We understand that if we stand together, we are stronger than if we face our challenges separately. In this industry, it can be truly said, in solidarity there is strength."
Representing the Jockeys' Guild at the meeting were president Wayne Gertmenian and chairman David Shepherd. General president Jim Hoffa and international vice president Chuck Mack represented the Teamsters. The meeting, held at the Hyatt Regency Islandia, marked the first effort of the two unions to join together for a common cause.
"While we are full partners in the industry's effort to meet the challenges that it faces, it is critical that racetrack management, owners, and trainers understand that our members must always be treated with respect and dignity," the release said. "Behind the glamorous face of horseracing, there are still persistent problems of track workers and jockeys living in poverty, working in extremely dangerous and unhealthy conditions, and working without adequate pay, benefits, and workers' compensation insurance coverage."
The Jockeys' Guild represents 1,285 jockeys in the United States, while the Teamsters Union represents various racetrack employees from security guards to track officials.