Workers at MEC's Flamboro Downs Set Strike Deadline

Employees at Magna Entertainment Corp.'s Standardbred track Flamboro Downs have set a strike deadline of midnight Tuesday in response to what it called MEC's "attempt to intimidate workers into dropping key demands" during collective bargaining negotiations.

More than 150 food, beverage, property, mutuel, and service workers represented by Service Employees International Union Canada have threatened the strike. Chief negotiator Tom Galivan said Flamboro is the lowest-paying, unionized racetrack in southern Ontario.

"It's time to look at Magna's record more closely," Galivan said in a press release. "They have a responsibility to treat employees fairly -- not to muscle them into accepting a bad contract."

The SEIU is seeking enhanced job security, higher wages, and increased benefits "that reflect Magna's incredible prosperity." MEC lost $105.1 million in 2003, but the union cited MEC's net income of $21.1 million during the first quarter of this year, nearly double last year's first quarter net income of $12.6 million. The first quarter of the year is typically MEC's strongest performing period.

Ron Bosanac, vice president of operations for Flamboro Downs, declined comment so it is unknown how a strike will affect the track's live meet. Calls to the MEC corporate office were not returned.

Flamboro Downs conducts live racing Wednesday through Sunday.