Thursday, July 8, 2010

NLRB Orders Union Election at World's Largest Casino Complex

The National Labor Relations Board has ordered that a union election be held at Foxwoods Resort and Casino, operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe after the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 371, filed a petition for the election covering about 375 bartenders, beverage servers, lounge hosts and bar porters. The Tribe argued that the NLRB did not have jurisdiction on tribal land. Instead, the Tribe said, the election should be conducted through its own labor relations agency, which was created three years ago in response to an earlier union petition.

This isn't the first time the NLRB has run into issues of tribal land jurisdiction and in making its decision, Regional Director Jonathan B. Kreisberg relied on previous decisions by the NLRB that the Board would take jurisdiction on tribal lands except in matters of “self-government in purely intramural matters”, or in cases where it would abrogate treaty rights,or where there is “proof” in statutory language that Congress did not intend for the law to apply to Indian tribes. The Regional Director found that none of those conditions applied.

From the NLRB's press release on the news:

Furthermore, he found that the tribe’s labor relations law is not comparable to the National Labor Relations Act in that it bans strikes, exempts employee safety and other subjects from collective bargaining, and requires tribal licensing of any union business agent. The NLRB has ordered two previous elections at Foxwoods, one of which involved the United Auto Workers and resulted in the Board's certification of the UAW as the representative of poker and table game dealers. After a series of NLRB and federal court appeals by the tribe, the UAW agreed to be certified and governed by tribal law rather than the NLRB, which ultimately resulted in a collective bargaining agreement. Three other union elections were later held at Foxwoods involving different unions and sets of employees, all under the tribal labor relations law.

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