WROTB’s branch employees to receive 3.5 percent raise

Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. management and union employees at the public benefit company’s branch locations have agreed to a pay contract that will give the workers at 3.5 percent raise for 2022.

The agreement was announced this morning at the WROTB board of directors meeting at Batavia Downs Gaming on Park Road.

WROTB President/CEO Henry Wojtaszek said it is a three-year pact extending through 2023. The supervisory and non-supervisory branch employees will get the 3.5 percent retroactively back to the first of the year.

The percentage for 2023 has yet to be determined, he said, but noted that the union employees will receive the same pay increase that the rest of the corporation’s employees receive.

“It has been a few years since they’ve been negotiating and this contract will take them to the end of next year — to the end of 2023,” he said. “We’re very happy and excited to have it completed. And we look forward to a great working relationship.”

Wojtaszek said changes in the contract focus on some work rules related to branch operations and the amount of employee contribution to the health insurance premium.

Each side has “ironed out some of the contribution limits for health insurance,” he said, adding that the union agreed to paying 5 percent of the cost for health insurance.

WROTB officials have been looking at the health insurance issue in recent months, stemming from a report from the New York State Comptroller’s Office and questions from Western New York lawmakers about the “gold plated” coverage given to the board members.

Wojtaszek said there is a good chance the 5 percent contribution will be put in place for all of the company’s employees.

“We certainly intend to suggest that and make that as a recommendation,” he said. “It’s a reasonable amount to have. Again, I think the best part about it is that we were looking to have everybody in the company (including directors) contribute for their health care.”

He credited VP/Administration William White, Payroll Supervisor Danielle Fleming and consultant Carl Monti for their work in reaching the agreement, which will affect about 60 supervisory and non-supervisory employees.

WROTB has pared its branch operations significantly in recent years. Currently, there are nine “brick and mortar” locations, plus Dial-A-Bet and Intertrack Wagering at Batavia Downs.

The Batavian has reached out to Antonella Rotilio, labor relations representative for the Long Island-based United Public Service Employees Union, for comment.

In other developments:

  • Wojtaszek mentioned “the great curb appeal for the public” when asked to comment about the completion of the Park Road Reconstruction Project.

“It’s beautiful … It’s showing now in our ability to have catering events and other trade shows,” he offered. “The people that are coming in to look at the place are really impressed with the way it looks as you approach the building now.”

He said enhancements paid for by WROTB, such as lighting and trees, have been installed.

“The trees have to grow in and then the grass has to grow a little better, but everything’s been seeded and everything has been planted. The light fixtures – the street lights – (are in) and we will add some flags and other measures that will make the approach look even better,” he said. “We will be starting out with American flags for Veterans Day.”

  • Batavia Downs Gaming staff will be renovating three bathrooms and installing new carpet tile on the second floor – work necessitated by extensive flooding when a pipe burst in mid-September.

The board approved a contract with Tarkett USA, Inc., for carpet and tile in the amount of #28,857.40, to be installed in the administrative, information technology and finance departments, and an expenditure of up to $130,000 to rebuild the bathrooms to current standards.

  • Chief Financial Officer Jacquelyne Leach reported third-quarter earnings of $2,230,525, which will be distributed to member municipalities. Genesee County is set to receive $47,228 of that money, plus another $1,040 in September 2022 surcharge.

The corporation’s total handle for last month was $4.6 million, down about 10 percent from September 2021, while the video gaming “net win” was $6.4 million, up by about 2 percent from the same period last year. All told, operational earnings for September rose by 66 percent to $693,628.

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