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Community News: Mid-City

MID-WILSHIRE : Racing Form Rejects Offer, Will Move

February 14, 1993|JAKE DOHERTY

The management of Daily Racing Form, the nation's leading horse-racing publication, has rejected incentive packages offered by the state and Rebuild L.A. and will move its main office to Phoenix after April 1.

Daily Racing Form was offered about $1.2 million in tax incentives and training subsidies to keep its main office at 170 S. Bimini Place, but spokesman Craig Lewis said the company needs about $7 million to upgrade its printing equipment.

The company will contract with an independent print shop to publish the paper, which will be produced by a greatly reduced staff in Arizona, Lewis said.

About 100 of the 150 workers will lose their jobs, employees and union officials said. About 25 employees will move to a new office in Gardena to handle circulation, advertising and bookkeeping. Other employees will be eligible to apply for openings in Phoenix, but transfers are not guaranteed.

"I gave them 23 years of loyalty and my life and then one day they say they're going to move," said Augustin Jimenez, who works in the composing room. "That's 23 years down the tubes. I don't know what I'm going to do."

Members of the Typographical Mailer Union Local 17 are demanding negotiation of a new contract that would ensure continued union representation at the Phoenix office, enhanced severance payments and retraining programs.

Sal Bonnello, chairman of Local 17, called the company's severance offer "garbage." Under the plan, employees who have worked more than 20 years at the paper will receive four additional weeks of severance pay above that required by their contracts as a result of the closure, Bonnello said.

More than 30 employees have asked to be considered for jobs in Phoenix, but the company's new qualifications for the few jobs that will be open are likely to rule out many, Bonnello said.

Lewis denied that the move is an attempt to rid Daily Racing Form of unions and said the company is trying to ease the move's impact on employees. But union leaders said the company has not negotiated in good faith.

"It's about money and about getting away from unions," Bonnello said. "They're not being fair to the people who have made them their money all these years and who know their craft."

Union members are still developing a response to the company's plans, but leaders say a strike or boycott of the paper are unlikely.

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