Not unexpectedly, an Administrative Law Judge this week overruled Foxwoods’ objections to the election of the UAW union as the representative for the table dealers (download ALJ decision here). The Regional Director will certainly certify the election results. At that point, Foxwoods is expected to refuse to bargain with the UAW which will set up further appeals.
As I said last fall, the tribe has already telegraphed its next move:
Leaders of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, which owns and operates Foxwoods, indicated the issue is probably headed in that direction.
"In light of what is at stake for all of Indian country, we must pursue this and it will require an appeal to the federal courts," said Tribal Chairman Michael J. Thomas in a letter circulated by the tribe.
Because I’m on trial, I’m only able to provide a quick summary of the decision.
Foxwoods had claimed that the ballots to the election should have been written in Chinese. That objection was overruled in a summary as follows:
Based on the totality of the evidence presented by the Employer and the Union, it is my opinion that the Employer has not established that any significant number of Chinese born unit employees had such difficulty with reading and understanding English that the failure to translate the ballot into Chinese could have affected the election. The employees presented by the employer did not represent a random sampling of the Chinese voters. And the evidence failed to convince me that any more than a few, at most, might have had any difficulty in understanding how to mark their ballots. (In a few of the cases, any difficulty they might have had could be attributable to their indifference). The Notices of the Election posted at the facility were in English and traditional Chinese. Both the Company and the Union communicated to the employees in English and Chinese by a wide variety of means. Additionally the Company held a series of meetings urging employees to vote “no” and explaining the election procedure. In some cases, meetings were conducted in English with a Chinese translator available to answer questions. In other cases, meetings were held where instructions about the balloting were given by a Chinese speaker. This was bolstered by mailed DVDs and pamphlets explaining the balloting procedure in various languages including Chinese.
Other objections, such as massed speeches, or intimidation, were also overturned.
As I have noted time and again, readers should not get too excited — one way or the other — on these types of decisions. Foxwoods (and indeed, the UAW) is merely making a record for a likely appeal. The real battles — in the federal courts — are still to come.
For a recap of ALL my prior Foxwoods coverage, click here.