Connecticut | Legislation

Mashantucket Tribe oversees another union election for casino workers

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation is overseeing another election for casino workers who are interested in joining a labor union.

The Environmental Services Department workers at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut will be voting April 20, according to news reports. They followed tribal law by collecting signatures for employees to join the New England Joint Board of the Unite Here.

"ESD workers are joining together for a voice in the workplace to negotiate fair work policies and decent benefits. It's OUR time!" the union said in a March 30 post on Facebook.

The tribe enacted its own labor relations law after employees started union efforts more than a decade ago. The Mashantucket Employment Rights Office oversees enforcement of the law.

The process appears to be working. At least three unions have followed the law and have successfully organized at Foxwoods.

The first dates back to 2010 and the most recent was last month, The New London Day reported.

The Mashantuckets are among the many supporters of the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act. The bill recognizes the authority of tribes to enact labor laws in the same manner as states and local governments.


The House passed the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act. in January by including the provisions of H.R. 986 into an unrelated Indian measure. The updated bill, known as S.140, has not yet been considered in the Senate, where its prospects are uncertain due to its controversial nature.

"We’re at 57 votes," Jackie Pata, the executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, said during the organization's winter session in Washington, D.C., in February, when a vote on S.140 had been anticipated but was delayed. "We need a few more."

Read More on the Story:
Another union vote at Foxwoods set for April 20 (The New London Day April 4, 2018)
Foxwoods workers inch toward unionization amid labor concerns (HartfordBusiness.Com April 5, 2018)

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 10, 2004)
Federal labor board expands jurisdiction over tribes (June 4, 2004)

Related Stories:
Tribes looking for more support to pass controversial sovereignty bill (February 14, 2018)