The tentative union contract, just completed between Foxwoods Resort Casino and the United Auto Workers may spur interest in union organizing in Indian casinos across the country. That the assessment of an attorney who’s represented tribes in past labor disputes. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.
The pact, which will cover 2,500 dealers at Foxwoods is the first reached under tribal law, as opposed to federal labor laws. Previous organizing efforts at Indian owned casinos have largely failed, but attorney Scott Wilson says many tribes may be more open to the idea of a union contract if tribal law governs the agreement. He says the Foxwoods’ pact is all the more unusual because the National Labor Relations Board isn’t involved.
“This is a very interesting area of law, a very developing area of law, particularly with this tension between National Labor Relations Act jurisdiction, but the idea that the NLRB will defer to a relationship between a union and an employer where both parties agree that they’ll adopt tribal law. So this is certainly something worth watching.”
The United Auto Workers won’t say if it is targeting particular casinos for organizing drives that may use this tactic, but Elizabeth Bunn, secretary treasurer of the UAW says the agreement certainly points the way forward.
"It was an experiment that succeeded, and we feel very certain that this is not a unique situation. This same kind of model can apply in other Indian owned and run casinos."
Dealers at Foxwoods will vote Friday on whether to ratify the contract.