Sunday, April 11, 2010


Engineering union launches bid to represent Foxwoods workers
By Brian Hallenbeck
Publication: The Day
Published 04/10/2010 12:00 AM

A labor union that represents the engineering trades has launched a second bid to represent Foxwoods Resort Casino employees.

Local 30 of the International Union of Operating Engineers filed a petition Friday with the National Labor Relations Board in Hartford, asking that the NLRB conduct a union election, John Cotter, deputy director of the board's regional office, said.

"We have notified the company and have set a hearing for April 19," Cotter said. "We expect Foxwoods will challenge our jurisdiction."

Indeed, Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council, expressed disappointment with the union's decision to petition the NLRB rather than pursue union affiliation under tribal law. The Mashantuckets own Foxwoods.

"It is the longstanding policy of the United States to encourage and support tribal self-government," Butler said in a statement Friday night. "Recent events here at Mashantucket have demonstrated that the Mashantucket Pequot Labor Relations Law provides a fair process for employees to select union representation if they so desire."

Butler noted that the tribe has negotiated a contract under tribal law with UAW at Foxwoods, the union for some 2,500 table-games dealers, and is currently negotiating under tribal law with the Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association of Connecticut, which represents members of the Mashantucket Pequot Fire Department.

"We continue to believe that tribal law should apply in these matters, and will vigorously oppose any attempted further erosion of our sovereignty," Butler said. "We invite Local 30 instead to take this opportunity to show respect for Native American governments by following the appropriate processes in its organizing effort."

Engineering employees at Foxwoods rejected Local 30's first organizing attempt on May 1, 2008, voting 215 to 67 against representation. Employees who voted then worked in the casino's engineering, facilities, projects, engineering apprenticeship and interior landscape departments.

Prior to an election, the parties would have to agree on who would be eligible to vote, according to Cotter. He said there are about 300 workers in Foxwoods engineering departments and that it could be "either clear or not clear" which ones would be eligible for union representation.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTES; When companies are perceived as not doing what is in the best interest of the workers, unions will step in. If workers are happy, and the benefits, wages, etc. are better from the companies, then there is no need for a union. THINK ABOUT IT. What do you think?

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