With opening day approaching, Playland workers’ union thanks Latimer for shelving bad management deal



RYE – With Rye Playland opening for the season May 11, CSEA union members working there are immersed in the hustle and bustle of opening weekend, but they are doing so with much-needed hope for the future of the beloved county park.

After years of uncertainty over the future of Playland, CSEA leaders are thanking Westchester County Executive George Latimer for ending a bad privatization deal that had yet to yield positive results. The deal caused years of uncertainty and upset for workers who’ve dedicated their careers to maintaining a safe and affordable experience for visitors to Rye Playland.

“We are grateful for George Latimer’s leadership and his strong support for Rye Playland,” said CSEA Westchester County Unit 9200 President Karen Pecora. “The county executive showed he is a true leader when he stepped up to end the bad deal the previous administration negotiated with Standard Amusements. While the company is going kicking and screaming this week on their way out, our members, who’ve faced years of upset and uncertainty, have been working hard to get the park ready for opening day.”

CSEA members are the backbone of Rye Playland, working in a variety of skilled trades, serving as operations staff, and working as seasonal ride operators and lifeguards. Whether it’s repairing vital infrastructure, promoting the park, or maintaining rides such as the iconic Dragon Coaster, CSEA members are committed to providing a park experience that is safe and affordable for visitors.

“We take tremendous pride in what we do year after year to keep Playland operating clean and safe for the people of Westchester and beyond,” said CSEA Westchester County Unit 3rdVice President John Infelice, an electrical foreman who has worked at Playland since 2002. “We have over 30 CSEA members working in different areas, including electricians, plumbers, grounds workers, maintenance, carpenters, parks operations and management. Our work often consists of long hours, working nights and weekends both while Playland is open and in the off-season. With this contract being terminated, and a county executive who loves Playland and sees the wisdom in keeping it in the hands of Westchester residents, our CSEA members are finally able to feel optimistic about the future.”

“It’s been very disappointing to see how the principals at Standard Amusements have made inaccurate and insulting comments about the work our members do,” said CSEA Westchester County Local 860 President John Staino. “While the former county executive failed to invest in Playland, our members still kept up a regular maintenance and inspection schedule that ensured safe operations for Playland visitors. Anecdotes cherrypicked by Standard Amusements, some of which came from visits in the off-season, painted a picture of the park that is very different from reality. Our members take pride in their work and safety is paramount.”

In a time when amusement parks such as Walt Disney World are unaffordable for many families, county-run Rye Playland is approaching nearly 100 years as an affordable and publicly-accessible park that provides opportunities for recreation that all can enjoy. The park is also the largest employer of local youth at a time when job options for people under age 18 are tougher to secure.

“The fact that Rye Playland continues as a publicly-run amusement park should be a source of pride for Westchester County,” said CSEA Southern Region President Billy Riccaldo. “Our country’s history of preserving parkland has ensured that you don’t need to have deep pockets to enjoy a day in a beautiful and fun setting such as Rye Playland. Our members working full time at the park are proud that the park is the county’s leading youth employer, giving teenagers the chance to gain needed job experience at a time when such opportunities have largely dried up.”

CSEA is the largest union representing Westchester County employees working in a variety of capacities to maintain quality of life across the county. With a membership over 3,000 strong, the CSEA Westchester County Unit 9200 proudly uses the motto, “We Make Westchester Work!”


Release published on May 9, 2019