This should come as a surprise to no one, particuarly given my prior posts, but Foxwoods Casino (properly known as the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation) today formally declined to bargain with the UAW over a contract for approximately 3000 table game dealers, setting up an appeal that will focus on sovereign immunity grounds. The Day first broke the story earlier this afternoon.
The Union’s request for bargaining last week can be downloaded here. Foxwoods response today is available here.
So, what’s the general gist of the Tribe’s argument declining bargaining?
In our view, the NLRB’s effort to assert jurisdiction over Tribal gaming enterprises constitutes a serious breach by that agency of time-honored commitments made by the federal government to Indian Tribes in statutes and other laws that support and ecourage tribal self government and the building of strong tribal governmental institutions.
The Tribe also goes on to note that the two presumptive nominees for President — Senator Obama and Senator McCain — have issued statements indicating their strong support for tribal sovereignty (though notably, not about this case).
The Tribe included additional documents in support of its argument which are available here and here.
Because the D.C. Circuit has already decided the San Manuel Casino case last year (which, in essence, allowed the NLRB to have jurisdiction over tribal casino workers), it is unlikely that the appeal will be filed there; instead, look for the Tribe to file in the Second Circuit where they will hope for a different outcome. An appeal is not expected for at least several more weeks.
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal issued a statement this afternoon "condeming" Foxwoods’ decision. Expect an amicus brief or intervenor brief from his office when the appeal is filed, as was done in the San Manuel case.