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Federal appeals court hears labor law dispute

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on Monday in the tribal law labor case.

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is fighting a ruling from the National Labor Relations Board. The board, overturning 30 years of precedent, said tribal businesses that employ non-Indians or affect non-Indians have to comply with federal labor law.

An attorney for the San Manuel Band said tribal businesses, particularly casinos, are governmental activities. He cited the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which was passed to further tribal government.

An attorney for the board said tribal casinos should be treated like any other business. "There's nothing governmental about it," the attorney said, the Associated Press reported.

The case has attracted nationwide attention. The San Manuel Band is backed by the National Congress of American Indians, the Native American Rights Fund, the National Indian Gaming Association and dozens of tribes and Alaska Native entities.

Get the Story:
Indian Tribes Seek Labor Law Exemption (AP 11/6)

Hearing Video:
Subcommittee on Employer-Employee Relations - Hearing on H.R. 16, Tribal Labor Relations Restoration Act of 2005 (July 20, 2006)

Tribal Labor Bill:
Tribal Labor Relations Restoration Act of 2005 (H.R.16)

San Manuel Band v NLRB:
Briefs, Decisions and Documents (Native American Rights Fund)

National Labor Relations Board Decisions:
San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino | Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation

Relevant Links:
National Labor Relations Board -
San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino -

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