The Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprise (more widely known as Foxwoods) and the UAW at Foxwoods have issued a joint press release moments ago that they have "reached a historic agreement to negotiate a union contract under Tribal Law, without either party waiving their rights under federal law."
The agreement comes after the parties agreed earlier this month to discuss the matter without waiving rights under federal law. (For additional background, click here.)
As I indicated in an earlier post, an agreement by the UAW to negotiate under tribal law represents a major victory for Foxwoods in their quest to maintain tribal sovereignty and to have tribal law apply instead of federal law. However, the agreement to negotiate a union contract still represents a solid victory for UAW because it will effectively end years of potential litigation (with no assurance of a victory at the end either).
According to the joint press release:
In resolutions passed Tuesday, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council certified the UAW as the exclusive representative of a unit of table games, poker and dual-rate dealers and addressed other concerns raised by the union.
Both parties recognize the historic significance of this agreement and appreciate the fact that it could not have been accomplished without mutual respect for the legitimate concerns of all affected parties.
While today’s agreement is not a collective bargaining agreement, it permits the negotiations to start. Both parties are optimistic that it will result in a constructive dialogue leading to successful negotiations.
If the parties are unable to reach an agreement within five months, either of the parties has the right to have unresolved issues submitted to binding arbitration under the tribal system which provides for a final decision by a neutral party agreed to by the employer and the union.
I’ll have more details soon as they become available, including expected press comment by Senators Dodd and Lieberman, Attorney General Blumenthal and the NLRB.