For immediate release
April 16, 2018
Top UNITE HERE Leader: vote is “a reaffirmation of the rights and dignity” of hardworking American middle class
Washington, DC – Tonight the US Senate voted down the passage of SB 140, which would have gutted worker rights for the tens of thousands of American men and women who work at tribal businesses, including casinos, across the country. The bill would have stripped all employees of tribal owned enterprises – hundreds of thousands of workers – from all federal labor rights granted under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), including collective bargaining rights, sexual harassment protections, and protection from discrimination.
UNITE HERE represents 100,000 gaming workers, including thousands of workers employed at tribal casinos who would have been impacted by this legislation. International President of UNITE HERE D. Taylor applauded the decision, and the leadership of Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) in defeating this anti-worker, pro-employer legislation. “Tonight’s defeat of this attack on worker rights is a reaffirmation of the rights and dignity of the hardworking middle class in America who work hard and play by the rules, and a rebuke of the anti-worker special interests spending millions to influence our laws and our government. This bill was never about Native Americans, who have a crucial place in American life, culture, and history. Rather, it was designed by multi-million dollar gaming industry bosses as a staggering attack on the most basic labor protections all American workers are entitled to under federal law. The courage of leaders like Senator Brown in defying these corporate interests to do what’s right for workers will not be forgotten come election time by our union or the many other AFL-CIO unions that represent tribal workers.”
The bill had passed the US House of Representatives by large margins in early 2018, including with the support of prominent Democratic leadership such as DCCC Chairman Rep Lujan despite the strong opposition of organized labor. UNITE HERE along with the AFL-CIO and half a dozen other unions have actively organized to kill this anti-worker legislation in the Senate, which would have set shocking precedent of carving out an entire sector of workers from federal labor laws had it passed. This legislation sought to strip federal rights from all American employees of tribal owned enterprises, which in addition to casino workers includes workers in mines, sand and gravel, and construction.
UNITE HERE represents 270,000 members working in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation, and airport industries in the U.S. and Canada.