HARTFORD, Conn. -- In an important victory for workers rights, NLRB Administrative Law Judge Raymond P. Green today upheld November's overwhelming vote by casino dealers at Foxwoods to form their own union.
This ruling dismisses all of Foxwoods' objections to the election and clears the way for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to certify the union election results.
"We are thrilled that Judge Green affirmed that our election was a free and fair measure of the will of the dealers," said Denise Gladue, a dual-rate dealer in Table Games. "We have won every ruling and we won our election by a decisive margin. We have waited long enough. Management needs to respect our majority, recognize our union, and negotiate a fair contract."
Casino dealers voted Nov. 24 by a 3-to-2 margin in favor of unionization. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and Foxwoods filed objections to the election, trying to get it overturned. The charges claimed that voters did not understand the ballot or the meaning of the union election. They also alleged misconduct by the union including threats and intimidation. All of the allegations were dismissed.
"We speak many languages, but we all know how to say, 'Union Yes!' And everybody who works here knew exactly what our election was about: We want a union!" said Wei Ching Siu, a part-time Table Games dealer. "My coworkers and I want a healthy workplace, wages and benefits we can count on, and we want respect. We all knew what we were voting for - a huge majority of us worked hard to win our union."
"Gaming employees have a definite home in our union," said Elizabeth Bunn, secretary-treasurer of the International Union, UAW. "The dealers at Foxwoods join a growing tide of casino workers standing together and standing up for a voice on the job."
The UAW represents more than 8,000 gaming employees nationally, including workers in Atlantic City, N.J.; Newport, R.I.; Evansville, Ind.; and Detroit.
"We are very proud to stand with the Foxwoods workers in fighting for good jobs in southeastern Connecticut," said Bob Madore, director of UAW Region 9A. "From the beginning, the Foxwoods dealers have been very impressive in standing together.
"The Foxwoods dealers are already acting as a union, standing up publicly against unhealthy levels of secondhand smoke," added Madore.
Since the start of this legislative session, casino dealers have been urging passage of Senate Bill 419, which would remove the exemption of casinos from the state smoking ban.
"We won. It's decided. We are not going to wait another year of appeals, for more broken promises, more erosion of our health benefits, and more people getting sick at work," said Jack Edwards, a dealer who has worked at Foxwoods for 11 1/2 years.
"Management has more to lose than to gain by continuing to drag this out in the courts. It is time for management to come to the bargaining table," concluded Edwards.
On March 25, the NLRB will begin a hearing investigating 35 unfair labor practice charges that have been filed against Foxwoods.