Friday, July 4, 2008

National Labor Board Certifes Union Election On Mashantucket Reservation

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The National Labor Relations Board yesterday certified the results of a Foxwoods union election held last November among dealers.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, the owners of Foxwoods casino, assert that the National Labor Relations Board has no jurisdiction over labor relations on their reservation and are appealing the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Dealers at the Foxwoods casino voted 1,289 to 852 to form a United Auto Workers union that will bargain on their behalf with Foxwoods' management. The election was supervised by the National Labor Relations Board.

The Tribe asserts that the United Auto Workers must abide by tribal law and if they wish to organize, they may do so under tribal law. "The union could already have a contract by now if they had followed tribal law," said the Tribe's general counsel Jackson King after the NLRB decision yesterday.

Last year, ten months before the dealers election at Foxwoods, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that a casino operated on tribal land was subject to federal labor laws, striking down the San Manuel Band of Mission Indian’s arguments that adherence to the National Labor Relations Act would violate their sovereignty. The Tribe did not appeal the decision. In the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians case, a union had formed under tribal laws while another union claimed it was being denied that same access to employees.

A union election has never been held at the Mohegan Sun casino.