September 1, 2013

Dealers overwhelmingly ratify Foxwoods contract

The Associated Press

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Dealers at Foxwoods Resort Casino overwhelmingly ratified a contract that raises salaries and preserves what the union says is the dealers' right to decide how to distribute tips.

Local 2121 of the United Auto Workers said on its website following voting on Thursday and Saturday that dealers voted 908 to 102 in favor of the contract. The union represents nearly 2,000 table game dealers.

Through a spokesman, Foxwoods President Scott Butera would not comment on Sunday. Billy Shea, president of the union, did not return a call seeking comment.

Dealers will receive a 25-cent-per hour raise, or 2.5 percent, retroactive to March 1, 2012 and an additional 90 cents an hour more over three years, through 2015. Wages in total are set to rise 11.5 percent.

The contract also ensures that dealers will decide how to distribute tips and toughens efforts to curb second-hand smoke. Connecticut law banning smoking does not apply to the Mashantucket Pequot-owned casino where tribal law prevails.

The union, as it announced last month it reached a tentative agreement with Foxwoods, told members it did not achieve everything union bargainers wanted, but was able to "move forward" in a tough economy.

Foxwoods, which is proposing a resort casino in Massachusetts, has been under financial pressure since the recession in 2008 and the weak recovery. With its neighbor, the Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods also faces rising competition.

Revenue at Foxwoods has fallen nearly 30 percent since before the start of the recession, from about $9 billion in the budget year ending June 30, 2008, to about $6.5 billion in the year that ended June 30.

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