LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – The valets at Churchill Downs will work the Kentucky Derby on Saturday following talk of a potential strike over wages.
Late Friday night, the attorney representing the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 541 issued the following statement:
“With the world’s eyes on the Kentucky Derby, we want to thank everyone for their support in the fight for livable wages, dignity, and respect for the valets at Churchill Downs. The valets have made the incredibly tough and selfless decision to put this event and the entire community above themselves, and the leadership of SEIU Local 541 respects that decision. The valets will continue to work the Kentucky Derby with the same commitment, passion, and dedication that they always have, and this union will continue to support them in their pursuit of a fair and just contract.”
The union approved a strike for Local 541 earlier in the week after the organization and Churchill Downs couldn’t come to a contract agreement.
The union wants a wage increase for valets from $16 an hour to $20 an hour, regardless of where horse races are held.
Valets work behind the scenes, saddling horses, making sure each mount has the proper weight and that all regulations are followed.