Sunday, January 03, 2010

Help Wanted

In this era of double digit unemployment, the Sunday Jobs Classified section is pretty much an empty stocking. I did catch one ad in the Times Union (Albany, NY) Classified placed by a Saratoga based racing stable advertising for a "Thoroughbred Racehorse Groom".

The position is a temporary position from 4/1/10-11/30/10. Sounds like fun, after all who would not want to be around horses all the time, in Saratoga no less? But like most jobs, the reality of the job is far more laborious than it appears-and you will not get rich doing it.

The job duties listed in the ad are demanding: feed, water, maintain stalls & tack, clean, brush, administer medicine as directed, inspect & observe horses physical condition. You also will have to clean horses feet, apply bandages & racing bandages as required as well as hot walk the horses. Each groom will have 3-5 horses to care for.

The pay rate is $8.42 per hour, 6 days a week, 7 hours a day, starting at 5 am each day. Over the 8 months position that is a gross salary of $11,316.48. After taking deductions out for good ole Uncle Sam, New York State and FICA, how far do you think that goes in Saratoga?

Also, if you figure you would like to break into this business but have no idea how to actually be a Groom the ad warns-"no on-the-job training avail." In fact, the job requires 3 months of experience.

I've been to many a racetrack and seen many a groom tending to horses, and can't remember onetime when the groom was not dutifully and what appeared to be eagerly doing his or her job-almost always anonymously and for little pay or public recognition.

All the reason to support these Backstretch workers through outfits such as Backstretch Employees Service Team (B.E.S.T.). B.E.S.T offers a variety of services to New York backstretch workers, including health care, visa assistance, and translation. This 501(c)(3) organization assists workers at all three NYRA tracks including Saratoga.


Glenn Craven said...

Well stated. The backstretch workers toil in anonymity and for meager wages. But they're typically dedicated souls who serve the industry admirably and are devoted to their horses.

We should support them through BEST and other charities and organizations that provide aid and services to deserving individuals.

dana said...

It's outrageous that the person who has the most hands-on contact with the horse gets paid the least... and so little.