The United Auto Workers and the AFL-CIO have completely evaded the issue of the "Compacts" creating the Indian Gaming Industry.
In Michigan, UAW Lead Lobbyist, Nadine Nosal, was ordered by UAW President Ron Gettelfinger not to vigorously oppose the Gun Lake Casino "Compact" which is embroiled in corruption and controversy. Nosal would only put a check on the "Hearing Card" indicating the UAW opposition to the "Compact."
The Gun Lake Casino "Compact" like the Petoskey Nurses' Strike, seems destined to become one of the longest in the Nation's history to win approval after being mired in corruption and the Jack Abramoff scandal while rumors abound that Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, now appointed by Barack Obama to his Transition Economic Advisory Board may have taken huge cash bribes from Station Casinos like the corruption in Missouri.
Governor Jennifer Granholm has been closely connected to the UAW and it is widely believed that Granholm and the UAW used their connections with the Democratic Party in order to work out a "sweetheart contract" with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation because the UAW became embarrassed that it had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on an organizing drive which was yielding no results.
Speculation is, that in order to save face, the UAW leadership has already determined that they will settle for a contract containing little more than workers have now and the contract will be unenforceable since tribal courts have no jurisdiction and the United States Supreme Court has been heavily biased in favor of the casino industry on all questions.
Gettelfinger is afraid to fight and struggle for justice.
Until the "Compacts" are opened up and have the rights of workers inserted in them casino workers will get no justice... where there is no justice, there can be no peace.
I had requested from United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger that the UAW join the Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council in vigorously opposing the Gun Lake Casino "Compact" unless workers' rights under state and federal law are fully included as part of the "Compact."
Unions should not "respect" the "right" of any Nation to be immune from the enforcement of labor laws.
In fact, what this article doesn't discuss in addition to these "Compacts" is that the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation doesn't have any laws protecting the rights of workers nor laws guiding workers' rights to organize unions and collective bargaining.
In addition, the United Auto Workers refuses to negotiate for smoke-free casinos--- this is one of the "pre-negotiation" sweetheart agreements the UAW made with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation which utilizes a mobster dominated and controlled management firm.
Interesting is the fact that this AFL-CIO "Press Release" does not state who the management firm is that the UAW will be bargaining with nor who their attorneys are.
More than two-million casino workers are employed in smoke-filled casinos in the Indian Gaming Industry at more than 450 casinos/resorts/hotels/restaurants/theme parks; all receiving poverty wages.
These "Compacts" have created right-to-work for less, without-any-right colonies, and these "Compacts" have gone unchallenged, and unmentioned, by the UAW and other AFL-CIO unions.
Former Red Lake Nation Chairman Roger Jourdain declared, in response to these draconian "Compacts:" "Indian Law and sovereignty should not be used to deprive Indian people or any other workers of their human rights."
Too bad the United Auto Workers and the AFL-CIO do not understand what Roger Jourdain understood very well.
The United Auto Workers Union is refusing to make public the "agreement" they worked out with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and its management firm... even the Foxwoods casino workers have not been allowed to see and study the "agreement."
I challenge UAW President Ron Gettelfinger to post the "agreement" with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and its management firm on the UAW website... ditto for President John Sweeney and the AFL-CIO... where is the beef!
Yes, where is the beef!
Interestingly enough, the beef, along with all other meats sold in these casinos, does not have to pass any state or federal inspections. Casinos across the country bought up almost the entire shipment of contaminated hamburger unfit for the school lunch programs and they are still serving this beef to casino patrons.
Stanley Crooks of the Mystic Lake Casino empire boasts that he always provides casino patrons with the best deals... the head chef said: What customers don't know isn't going to hurt them... while Melanie Benjamin of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwa is trying to figure out how to get out of her own mess--- now accused of stealing millions of dollars from the huge Grand Casino empire. Plenty of money for these corrupt casino managements, but no money to provide real living wages for casino workers.
There is only one Indian Band in the United States that has labor laws... that is a Band near Saginaw, Michigan, and the "labor law" states that union membership is prohibited.
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, in pushing for the Employee Free Choice Act refused to state if "card check" legislation would apply to casino workers.
Sweeney has also evaded the issue of "at-will hiring, at-will firing" legislation in effect in twenty-eight states, including Minnesota and Michigan; legislation which will nullify "card check."
While this AFL-CIO and UAW press release states that the UAW represents casino workers in other states; the UAW has yet to negotiate any contracts in the Indian Gaming Industry. The UAW has adamantly refused to consider the rights and special problems of casino workers. The UAW refuses to negotiate a healthy and safe workplace for casino workers by negotiating smoke-free casinos in spite of supporting "Freedom to Breathe" legislation for all other workers in states like Minnesota and Michigan, which has led many casino workers to conclude the only thing the UAW cares about is the dues money to make up for the losses being suffered in the auto industry. One Foxwoods' dealer has said that the UAW has sold out workers before negotiations have even begun... autoworkers would likely agree.
Native American casino workers have branded the UAW a racist union for refusing to include affirmative action clauses in their proposed contracts.
Women of child-bearing age have called the UAW sexist.
Maggie Bird, a Native American and the President of the Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council, has noted that there has never been a Native American on the Executive Board of the UAW, and stated: "The UAW leadership has worked with casino managements and the Democratic Party trying to thwart our organizing efforts; the UAW leadership is racist and sexist with complete disregard for health and safety in the workplace. The American Cancer Society and the Heart and Lung Foundation both unequivocally state that young women of child-bearing age are most at risk when exposed to second-hand smoke. Many casino employees are retired elderly workers forced back into the workforce because they cannot make ends meet trying to live on meager Social Security checks and second-hand smoke is a death sentence for these elderly casino workers. Let Ron Gettelfinger try working in a smoke-filled casino."
In connection with the deplorable working conditions in casinos; this e-mail was received:
Dear Mr. Maki:
Thank you for your response to our press release. This sounds like a very serious concern for working women’s health. We would be interested in doing what we could to inform the public about the situation through our research or outreach. I’d like to learn more about the policy levers that you are pursuing to combat this disgusting situation. I was recently in Las Vegas for a conference and was just horrified by the smoke filled casinos among many other things.
In terms of our press release, we were speaking to how Obama’s messages may have resonated with women voters in general – it wasn’t intended to provide opinion on his policy stances, the practices of his campaign funders, or to comment on how all women feel about Obama. .
Barbara Gault, Ph.D.
Institute for Women's Policy Research
1707 L St. NW, Washington, DC 20036
202-785-5100, ext. 23
Alan L. Maki
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council
After a Year, Bargaining Set for Casino Workers at Foxwoods
by Mike Hall, Nov 3, 2008
More than a year after some 2,600 casino workers voted for a voice with the UAW, contract talks are at last set to begin between the American Indian tribe that owns the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut and the union.
UAW Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Bunn says the agreement with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation also recognizes the UAW as the workers’ collective bargaining agent. She called the agreement a
first step toward achieving a contract for workers at Foxwoods. It came about because both parties were willing to listen and address each other’s concerns. The Mashantucket Pequots have set an extraordinary example by respecting the rights of workers, and we look forward to building a strong relationship in the future.
The casino is located on the Mashantucket Pequot reservation and the agreement will be negotiated under tribal law, without either party waving their rights to federal labor law.
Jackson King, general counsel of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, says:
The concepts of tribal sovereignty and self-government are very important to all Native American tribes. We are very pleased to have come to an understanding that both acknowledges employees’ rights to join unions and respects the rights of Native American governments.
Following the November 2007 election, the Mashantucket Pequots challenged the election on the grounds that the National Labor Relations Act does not apply to a casino on tribal land. But in July, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) upheld the election and certified the UAW as the workers’ bargaining agent.
Both sides agreed to stay legal actions pending before the NLRB and the U.S. Court of Appeals. According to a UAW press release, if the parties are unable to reach an agreement within five months, either of the parties has the right to have unresolved issues submitted to binding arbitration under the tribal system, which provides for a final decision by a neutral party agreed to by the employer and the union.
Bonnie Forman, a dealer at the casino for more than seven years, says:
Everyone at work is very excited. This is exactly what we have been working for—an opportunity to sit down with management so we can improve our workplace and make Foxwoods the best possible choice for our customers.
The casino is the largest in the United States and ranks second globally. Foxwoods is Connecticut’s largest employer. The UAW represents more than 8,800 casino workers in Connecticut, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey and Rhode Island.