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Foxwoods Dealers Vote to Approve Union Contract
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Dealers at Foxwoods have voted to ratify a union contract negotiated under tribal law.  The two year agreement will cover 2,500 dealers.  WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Just over 1,400 dealers covered by the agreement turned out to vote late last week, with 75% voting in favor of the contract. The pact gives dealers a 12% wage hike over two years, and provides a new system for the distribution of tips. This last was the most controversial part of the agreement, especially for dealers at the MGM Grand. They generally receive higher tips than those at neighboring Foxwoods, and many of them had fought to keep their tip pool separate from the bigger casino.The contract also specifies that management must integrate casual dealers as part-time employees with benefits – an important job security issue according to the union.

Management at the casino issued a statement saying the new contract gives them operational flexibility and cost controls necessary to remain competitive, as well as allowing them to make savings on employee benefit costs. The tribal law surrounding employment that was enacted by the Mashantucket Pequot tribe in fact follows federal statutes fairly closely, but this was the first accord negotiated entirely under tribal law, without reference to the National Labor Relations Board. The United Auto Workers says it hopes other tribes will now be receptive to the idea of union organizing at casinos elsewhere, if the tribal law model can be used.

For WNPR, I'm Harriet Jones.