Friday, October 10, 2008

Mashantucket Pequots and Union To Negotiate Under Tribal Law

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The United Auto Workers finally agreed to negotiate with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe under the Tribe's labor law and not under federal labor law.

Last week the National Labor Relations Board ruled that the Tribe wasn't negotiating in good faith and, days later, the Tribe filed an appeal to that ruling in federal court.

Keith Harper, an attorney representing the Tribe said, "The fact that they are a sovereign nation is part of it. The tribe wants to emphasize that this is not an issue of whether or not they have a right to form a union. Tribal laws already ensure that for workers within the community, and there is a clear way of going about that that is already enforced by tribal institutions."

The Tribe's general counsel, Jackson King, noted, "There is well-settled federal policy to promote tribal institution building. Yet when this Tribe takes the initiative at great costs to build those institutions over decades, you get federal bureaucrats that want to undermine those very institutions by imposing ill-fitting one-size-fits-all Washington solutions."

Casino dealers voted last November to join the United Auto Workers and since then the UAW has demanded that the Tribe negotiate with them under federal law.

Under the agreement announced today, both sides will enter into discussions for 30 days while neither side agrees to waive their legal rights as they understand them.