UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — The United Auto Workers Union is trying to organize the approximately 1,400 table games workers and poker dealers at the Mohegan Sun Casino nearly five years after organizing employees at the neighboring Foxwoods Resort Casino.
An assistant regional director of the union, Ted Feng, said Tuesday that workers want to win pay and benefits at least as good as workers at the unionized Foxwoods. He said workers approached the union, which began a campaign on July 6 to sign people up.
Federal labor law requires unions to receive at least 30 percent support to petition for elections, but Feng said the UAW will seek majority support.
Workers at the Mohegan Sun, in Uncasville, were inspired by gains made by unionized workers at Foxwoods, in Mashantucket, he said.
"There are a lot of people who talk to each other in the community," Feng said.
The Mohegan Sun's chief executive, Jeffrey Hartmann, said the casino is not surprised at a union organizing drive.
"I don't know what factors motivate a union," Hartmann said. "We don't believe it's in the best of interests of employees. We enjoy the one-on-one relationship we established 16 years ago."
Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun are facing rising competition in the Northeast as Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and other states have expanded casino gambling or are considering it. The two Connecticut casinos also have taken on debt that has needed to be refinanced.
The parent company of the Mohegan Sun casinos in Connecticut and Pennsylvania announced in March it refinanced debt of about $1 billion.
The UAW organized about 2,000 workers at Foxwoods, but disputes with the Mashantucket Pequot tribe that runs the casino resulted in several hearings before the National Labor Relations Board.
Feng would not say how long he believes an organizing campaign may last at the Mohegan.
"It's up to the workers and how quickly they move," he said.
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