Tribe, Foxwoods dealers reach tentative agreement on historic contract

Foxwoods Resort Casino and Local 2121 of the United Auto Workers union have reached a tentative agreement on a first-ever union contract covering 2,500 table-games dealers at Foxwoods and MGM Grand at Foxwoods, the union announced this afternoon. 

If approved by the membership, the contract provides an average 12 percent increase in dealers’ wages over two years, and establishes a more equitable distribution of tips resulting in additional significant increases for the overwhelming majority of dealers, the union said. 

The contract creates what the union calls “an industry model” for job safety, including programs to reduce repetitive stress injuries, a major extension of medical leave time for workers out with serious illnesses for more than six months, and a unique 24-table “smoke-free pit” to help workers vulnerable to second-hand smoke and provide customers with a smoke-free haven. 

“This is a great victory for us. This preserves our basic benefits during a tough economy, provides job security and contract improvements in so many areas,” Denise Gladue, a baccarat dealer who’s been working at Foxwoods for 15 years, said in the union’s statement. “We see this agreement as a win-win for employees and for the future success of the casino.”

According to a union spokesperson, the tentative agreement also “puts the brakes on the erosion of full-time jobs with benefits,” by reducing the number of casual dealers through promotions to regular part-time with benefits, establishes a “real and fair” grievance procedure, and includes “the strongest language in our industry” on job security and control of tokes (tips). 

Since the agreement was negotiated under tribal law, it may help to stabilize labor relations at Native-American-owned casinos across the country, the union said.

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