Column: Pauma Band casino employees trying to join union

Employees of the casino owned by the Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians in California are still trying to unionize:
Following an initial investigation by its General Counsel, the National Labor Relations Board has issued a complaint against Pauma Casino alleging that management’s response to the wearing of union buttons was an unfair labor practice. The unions says that workers who wore buttons have been threatened with disciplinary action if they failed to remove the buttons.

Organizers with UNITE HERE Local 30 staged a press conference in the parking lot outside of a Ramada Inn in Temecula prior to the start of a week long series of hearings by an administrative judge from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Separate from the hearing, workers have been asking the tribe to agree to a fair process, free from intimidation and retribution, while they decide whether to unionize.

“At the end of the day we want a fair process without the company intimidating us. Ever since I started working here I have not had any guarantee that I will not be fired without a good reason, and my job security is important to me. I have a medical condition so my job and medical benefits are very important to me,” said Martin Loya, engineer at Pauma Casino for almost 9 years. 

In March of last year Pauma won a federal lawsuit against the state that allowed it to resume using its 2000 agreement because the 2004 compact was erroneous in its assumptions. This ruling indirectly changed Pauma’s collective-bargaining policies: The tribe is no longer required to remain neutral on the issue, and any unionization vote must now take place by secret ballot instead of on so-called authorization cards.

Get the Story:
Doug Porter: Fear and Gambling at Pauma Casino (The San Diego Free Press 2/11)

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