Legislation

Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act in limbo as Congress returns to work




The Chickasaw Nation owns and operates the WinStar World Casino and Resort, in Thackerville, Oklahoma. Photo from Facebook

Congress is back in session but a key tribal priority remains in limbo as the November election approaches.

Tribes have seen seeking to exempt their gaming facilities from the National Labor Relations Act for more than a decade. The effort moved a big step forward when the House passed H.R.511, the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act, last November.

The bill, however, has not seen action in the Senate. And while the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act has been included in Section 409 of an appropriations measure but H.R.5926 is not expected to clear Congress before the end of the year either, Bloomberg BNA reports.

That means supporters of the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act could seek to have the bill included as a rider in an "omnibus" appropriations package that could be considered after the November election, Bloomberg BNA reports. With time running short in the 114th Congress, going that route might represent the strongest chance of success for Indian Country.

For 70 years, the National Labor Relations Board largely stayed away from Indian Country. That changed in 2004 when the board said it would assert jurisdiction at tribal casinos on a case-by-case basis.

Tribes counter that they should be treated in a manner similar to states and the federal government. The Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act would essentially ensure parity under the National Labor Relations Act.

The Obama administration opposes H.R.511 and said it could agree to a bill "only if the tribes adopt labor standards and procedures applicable to tribally-owned and operated commercial enterprises reasonably equivalent to those in the National Labor Relations Act."

Read More on the Story:
Congress Limited by Elections, Calendar in Waning Days (Bloomberg BNA 9/2)

From the Indianz.Com Archive:
Tribal labor law rider killed by wide margin in House (June 27, 2005)
NCAI between 'rock and a hard place' on labor rider (September 13, 2004)
Tribal labor amendment fails in House vote (September 13, 2004)
Federal labor board expands jurisdiction over tribes (June 4, 2004)

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