Saturday, January 30, 2010

Foxwoods Dealers Vote Overwhelmingly To Ratify Labor Contract

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Dealers at Foxwoods overwhelmingly approved a union labor contract yesterday by a vote of 1,053 to 355, the first agreement of its kind worked out under tribal labor law instead of federal labor law.

The agreement marks a milestone in negotiations between Local 2121 of the United Auto Workers union and the Mashantucket Pequot nation.

Foxwoods officials said the agreement gives management the operational flexibility and cost controls necessary to remain competitive in the current economic climate. The contracts will give dealers an average 6 percent annual increase this year and in 2011, creates a 24-table smoke-free pit and will standardize seniority and tip distribution throughout the casino complex. Foxwoods should see savings in its employee benefit costs and stability in a favorable ¨no strike¨ clause in the contract.

Since an expansion at Foxwoods, called MGM Grand at Foxwoods, opened in May 2007, different tip and seniority policies were applied to the new section. The new contract commingles all tips for distribution to dealers which is a change from the current practice of sharing the tips at MGM Grand with only the dealers at the MGM Grand. The wage increase is based on a dealers base pay, which Foxwoods says is $5.90 per hour.

Dealers get paid more in tips than in wages. The 360 dealers at the MGM Grand section receive about $21 per hour in tips, which is roughly 50 percent more than the tips paid out to other 2,200 dealers throughout Foxwoods. The new contract would eliminate that disparity.

Out of the approximately 2,500 dealers at Foxwoods, over 1,000 did not take part in yesterday´s vote. The outcome of the vote mean that all dealers at Foxwoods will be paying union dues.