Sunday, March 01, 2009

Track Workers Refusing Retraining?

Now, obviously this is all part of a PR campaign, but let's forget that sort of context when we read the following quote from this article (read it!).
Amid hopes that slot machines or a delay in the racing ban could save their jobs, some track workers and state officials say that few of them have begun to look for a new job or seek training.
The article is a woe-is-me piece on a track worker who will eventually lose his track job. Now, I'm pretty far to the left if you were to place me on an ideological line, but not even I think government can help people who don't want to be helped. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink - after all.

But let's get back to the real world - and context. My suspicion is that this was a carefully selected case amongst the track workers - their Joe the Plumber - and whoever sent out the press release wants to make it appear as though these people need slot jobs. But they don't. George Carney, owner of the Raynham Track and Supreme Councilor of Pushing Slots Into Massachusetts, just wants to make voters think that.

The fact of the matter is this state is providing funds for slot worker retraining, more than most people who lose jobs will get. Help is available from other sources, as well. If the tracks are telling them not to seek that help or accept it, because it'll risk slots, then shame on them. But we can't allow slots in this state because people who work at the race tracks are refusing to accept free or inexpensive retraining.

Basically, this sort of thinking
“There’s always a possibility that even if the live racing goes away, slots could come in, and I might have a job,” said Pizzutti, a racing official at the track, who has not begun a job hunt.
is asinine, stupid and unacceptable. If this weren't a PR hack - probably a friend or relative of one of the track's owners - and he held this view, who would find that acceptable? It's not much better than people who go to gamble thinking they could win a million dollars, thus spending thousands of their own to do so, thousands they don't really have to spend. This is not thinking we should reward.

The people at the tracks need to understand - resoundingly so - that they should accept retraining, because slots have long been a pipe dream in this state and will probably continue to be so. Yet, George Carney is refusing any state help at the tracks for his employees.

Here's the bottom line:

Ken Messina is the Massachusetts manager of Rapid Response, a federally-funded program in every state, which responds to companies and employees facing closings and layoffs.

Messina said his team offered three months ago to set up shop at the dog track, hoping to educate employees about unemployment, health insurance and resume assistance.

“We were ready to go, and when we started talking to the representatives of the dog track, it was evident they were trying to see if there were any alternative things to keep the track open,” Messina said.

Track owner George Carney could not be reached for comment.

George Carney is trying to hold this entire state hostage, refusing to allow necessary retraining efforts for his employees, based on a scheme and a gamble that he can use the self-selected plight of his workers to gain enough sympathy to legalize slots. But his employees don't have to suffer - the state is plenty willing to help. George Carney is just choosing to make his employees suffer, thinking it may help him make additional millions.

This is George Carney's fault; he should be held accountable for his actions - which means no slots and no state bail out of track racing. No one should have any sympathy for George Carney or his ilk. They're manipulators who don't give a crap about their employees or the people they put in the poor house - which is about to become one in the same, because he's refusing the state's help in retraining his employees. If the state makes any move to help track workers, it shouldn't be slots - it should be a law mandating all greyhound race tracks accept state help in retraining their workers. Period.


Anonymous said...

Carney has been drinking the same Koolaid as our very own Senator "But For" Pacheco and Rep. "Slots" Flynn.
Time to bid tracks a fond farewell and stop bailing them out with Predatory Gambling.
Shed no tears for employees who have been given + 1 year to find another job. Not everyone is so lucky.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the MSPCA can lend a hand and set up some fund raisers, "Adopt a Greyhound Handler".

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