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Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.

"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

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Let's talk...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Gun Lake Tribe: Casino "Compact," second hand smoke & workers' health

Note: Phyllis Davis has been working as the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Tribe's (Gun Lake Band) Health Director for 3 years. Her area of jurisdiction includes Allegan, Kent, Kalamazoo, Barry and Ottawa Counties in the State of Michigan.

Note: Phyllis Davis has refused to respond to this query; I will publish her response if and when it is received.

A copy of this letter has been sent to all Legislators in the Michigan House and will be sent to all thirty-eight members of the Michigan Senate.

-----Original Message-----

From: Alan Maki [mailto:amaki000@centurytel.net]

Sent: Thursday, August 09, 2007 2:25 PM

To: padavis@mbpi.org

Cc: 'Gary Garbarino'; 'Michael Johnston'; gdubovich@usw.org; lgerard@usw.org; editor@allegannews.com; miaflcio@voyager.net; 'Mike Jaros'; rep.bill.hilty@house.mn

Subject: A question concerning second hand smoke...

Ms. Davis;

As the Health and Human Services Director for the Gun Lake Band, do you have a professional opinion if it is good for casino workers to be employed in a working environment where they are constantly exposed to second hand smoke?

Have you made any recommendations on what can be done to protect those who will be employed in the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi (Gun Lake Tribe) Casino from the harmful health affects of second-hand smoke?

Also, have any Michigan State Legislators, Representatives or Senators, asked you for your professional opinion on this issue? Has anyone from the news media asked you your professional opinion concerning this issue?

I trust you understand my concerns about sending 1,800 casino workers into a working environment which would endanger the health and well-being of so many people and the harm this would pose to so many families.

I believe you have an ethical responsibility to raise any health concerns regarding the conditions under which 1,800 human beings will be employed in the Gun Lake Casino… I would urge you to make your professional views known to members of the Michigan Senate who are yet to vote on this compact.

Unless this matter of second-hand smoke is resolved, our Organizing Committee may have to consider costly and timely litigation along with other measures, in order to prevent this casino from opening in order to protect the health of casino employees.

We have been advised by our attorneys that this could present the courts with an interesting case.

Let me assure you, our Organizing Committee has no interest in preventing a casino operated by the Gun Lake Band. Our one and only concern is for the health, rights, and welfare of those workers who will be employed in this casino… to date, unfortunately, there has been no demonstrated concern on the part of Michigan Legislators or the Gun Lake Band concerning these issues. Nor, would I point out have any of the parties battling over whether there should be a casino demonstrated such concerns.

Thanking you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Alan L. Maki
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council

58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Phone: 218-386-2432
Cell phone: 651-587-5541
E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net

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On August 8, 2007, for the very first time in the United States, an elected politician--- a woman Republican--- stood in the Michigan House and tried to amend this "Compact" to include making the Gun Lake Casino a smoke-free work environment. Her amendment was overwhelmingly defeated by the House Democratic majority who were joined by the majority of her Republican colleagues. Shame on Michigan's Democratic House Majority backed by the Michigan AFL-CIO and Change to Win; Shame on Michigan Republicans for continuing their service to the tobacco industry and big-business.

Both the Democratic and Republican Parties demonstrated the failure of the two-party system when it comes to meeting the health care requirements of working people for healthy and safe work environments.

Shame on Phyllis Davis for remaining silent on this issue when she could have provided the leadership required to bring, for the first time in the casino industry in the United States, a smoke-free working environment at the Gun Lake Tribe's new casino, which would have established an industry standard for the approximately 400 casinos across the United States employing close to two million casino and hospitality workers--- the majority of whom are young women of child bearing age.

The only two casinos in North America providing a smoke-free environment for casino workers and patrons alike remain Manitoba's two provincially owned and operated casinos in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada... made smoke free by the New Democratic Party (NDP)... Canada's party of labour backed by the Canadian Labour Congress. The tremendous profits generated by these two very popular casinos contribute massive funding to the health care system and public education. The NDP has pointed out being smoke-free has brought in casino patrons from all over North America who flock to these two casinos largely because they are smoke-free thereby generating tremendous profits for the public good; plus, the NDP's Minister of Health has noted the smoke-free environment has saved the health care system millions of dollars as casino workers are free of the health related problems known to be associated with second-hand smoke.

The Michigan State Senate has yet to vote on this Gun Lake Casino "Compact."

Please join with casino workers in telling the Michigan Senate to reject this "Compact" in its present form and send it back to Governor Granholm to renegotiate with the Gun Lake Tribe so that this "Compact" becomes the new standard of the casino industry in the United States which includes the rights of casino workers to be employed in a smoke free work environment with all the protections other workers enjoy under state and federal labor laws.

The time has come for the Michigan AFL-CIO and Change to Win to end their shameful silence, and responsibly accept their obligations to all working people, including casino workers... urge your union leadership to speak up, and speak out loudly and proudly on this very important issue.

Contrary to the claims of those who say the place to win these rights is at the bargaining table... we say the place to win these rights is through the legislative process. Legislators have fiduciary responsibility to see to is that all working people have a safe and healthy working environment free from second hand smoke.

Michigan Governor, Jennifer Granholm--- a labor backed and supported Governor--- has shamefully abdicated her fiduciary responsibility to Michigan workers; the Michigan Senate must now hold her accountable by insisting this "Compact" be renegotiated with the Gun Lake Tribe.

The Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council takes no position on whether or not this particular Gun Lake Tribe's casino operation should be allowed to proceed; this is a question residents of the area should be allowed to determine--- this is what is known as "grassroots democracy." Our concern is that casino workers have a right to work in smoke free, safe and healthy workplaces with full rights under state and federal labor laws, including the right to organize to protect their rights and receive a real living wage for the work they do.

The Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council is the voice of casino workers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Iowa.

Alan L. Maki
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council