Following a thorough, four-month investigation, the National Labor Relations Board’s counsel in Miami has filed a formal complaint against the operators of the Mardi Gras Casino in Hallandale, Florida. The complaint comes after 10 workers who were leaders of a union organizing drive were fired in November 2011.
The complaint asserts, among other things, that management interrogated its employees about their union involvement and their coworkers’ union involvement and threatened employees with termination and other retaliations if they were to join the union. Further, the complaint charges that the operators of Mardi Gras Casino created the impression that employees were under surveillance and management implied promised benefits to employees who “refrained from engaging in union activities.”
As one of the proposed remedies, the Board’s General Counsel is also seeking an Order requiring that the 10 workers fired last November during the beginnings of an organizing drive receive full back pay. Mardi Gras must respond to this complaint on or before May 14, 2012.
"This is a huge victory for me personally, for our organizing at Mardi Gras, and for any worker who is strong enough to stand up for what she believes," said Tashana McKenzie, a slot attendant who is one of those workers whom NLRB Counsel says was illegally fired at the casino. “This is also a victory for the thousands of our supporters across the country.”
The 10 workers were fired last November shortly after workers at the casino started to organize to join UNITE HERE, a union that represents more than 150,000 gaming and hospitality workers across the country. Workers have rallied community support around the region through a Facebook page, "Bring Back the Mardi Gras 10.”(Facebook.com/BringBackTheMardiGras10)
Fr. Richard Aguilar, and Episcopal priest and supporter of the Mardi Gras 10, was pleased to hear about the federal complaint. “In the past few weeks, many of us in the faith community have prayed and discussed the importance of this fight: what it means to our congregations, what it means to the community and what it means to the thousands of disenfranchised minority workers in our tourism based economy. I’m proud to support the Mardi Gras 10 and a new vision for Florida.”
The complaint comes less than a week before UNITE HERE Local 355, the union which represents over 5,400 hotel, airport, stadium, and casino workers in South Florida, will conduct a major rally and march in support of the workers at Mardi Gras and to promote the tenets of the Florida Freedom Charter. The march on May 8 will begin at BF James Park in Hallandale at 6pm and end in front of Mardi Gras Casino.