Foxwoods objections don’t deter dealers

Dec 09, 2007 @ 04:37 AM

By ERICA JACOBSON
Norwich Bulletin

Dealers at Foxwoods Resort Casino say they are going ahead with union preparations after the Nov. 24 vote regardless of objections management has filed with the National Labor Relations Board.

"When I got started, I said to myself, 'I will see this to the end. I will not waiver from this.' ...We deserve it and we need it," 15-year dealer Bill Shea of Westerly said.

Foxwoods, the United Auto Workers and the board have until the end of Monday to submit evidence regarding the dozen objections the casino filed a week ago with the board's Hartford offices.

The complaints were levied at both the union and the UAW and include concerns about election ballots being solely in English instead of the several languages spoken by employees. Foxwoods also alleged the union intimidated workers during the lead up to as well as on the day of the election itself.

Michael Thomas, Mashantucket Pequot tribal chairman, has said Foxwoods will contest the vote through to federal courts if needed, based on the argument the federal board had no jurisdiction over the sovereign nation's employment issues.

What's in contract

Mary Johnson, another longtime dealer at the casino, said dealers such as herself who were active in the pre-election union drive now are talking to as many fellow dealers as possible regardless of how they voted or how long they've worked for the casino.

"I want everybody's input," she said. "It's important for people to start thinking about what they want to see in a contract."

Since the vote totals were announced early Nov. 25, Shea has said he'd like to see the healing process begin at the casino. He said continued protests from Foxwoods are a delay, not a deal breaker, to restoring Foxwoods to the company he remembers so fondly.

"That's our goal as employees, to return Foxwoods back to the old glory days," Shea said. "If we didn't care, we wouldn't be here."

Reach Erica Jacobson at 425-4241 or ejacobson@norwichbulletin.com
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