Casinos Seek Labor Law Exemption

Daily News Article - November 30, 2015


1. Describe the legislation that passed the House last week and is supported by both Democrats and Republicans.

2. a) Who opposes the legislation?
b) For what reason(s) does each oppose the legislation? Be specific.

3. a) What arguments do Native American leaders (and their Congressional supporters) make for why the National Labor Relations Act should not apply to tribal casinos? Be specific.
b) Approximately how much income (revenue) do tribal casinos generate per year?
c) How is the casino revenue used by the tribes?
d) How much of New Mexico’s Pojoaque Pueblo budget comes from casino-related revenue?

4. What negative effect does the director of the National Indian Gaming Association say unionizing could have on Native American communities?

5. In paragraph 7, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is quoted as saying, “The AFL-CIO believes in both tribal sovereignty and worker solidarity. We don’t have to choose.” Do you agree with this assertion? Explain your answer.

6. “We want these casinos to succeed,” said Bill Samuel, a lobbyist for the [unions'] AFL-CIO, but “why should they live under a different set of rules” than non-Indian competitors?” Could the casinos succeed if the employees were unionized?
If possible, ask the opinion of one person who supports unions and one person who does not believe unions are necessary with the protections American workers have under the law today.

7. There is no information in the article about how the tribal employees feel about being permitted to unionize (do they want to?), or whether the tribal casinos pay and treat their employees fairly (are employees underpaid or under-compensated? Do employees feel they are not treated fairly?). In your opinion, who makes the better argument: tribal leaders or the unions? Explain your answer.