[JURIST] Lawyers for a southern California Indian tribe argued before the US DC Circuit Court of Appeals Monday that the tribe is exempt from the National Labor Relations Act [text] on grounds of tribal sovereignty. The San Manuel tribe [website] is appealing a 2004 ruling [PDF text] which asserted National Labor Relations Board [official website] jurisdiction over tribal businesses [AP report]. If the decision is upheld, tribes would be covered for the first time by the National Labor Relations Act, which bars unfair labor practices and gives workers the rights to organize and bargain with employers.
NLRB attorneys say they are trying to protect the rights of the more than 250,000 Indian casino workers across the country's 400 plus tribal casinos. Without the protection of federal labor regulations, unions doubt they will be able to guarantee fair labor practices and bargaining power for casino workers. AP has more.