Statement on Tribal Gaming Compacts
Statement by California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski
It is with deep dismay that California’s working people have witnessed the passage of tribal gaming compacts, agreements that have all but guaranteed that a generation of workers in California’s fastest growing service sector will be left without the protection of state and federal laws or a union contract.
There is no more important issue to workers than the right to organize themselves and collectively bargain for fair wages and improved working conditions. This is a right that millions of workers hold dear as a symbol of respect and fairness, and which historically has secured the path to better lives for their families.
The middle class has eroded as union membership has declined. Our legislative allies agree that the best way to rebuild our middle class is to create jobs with living wages and decent benefits. And our legislative allies know that a growing and vibrant group of workers with the right to organize is the best way to achieve that goal.
Unfortunately, with this vote, the Legislature has abandoned California’s 100,000 current and future casino workers who now risk languishing among the working poor.
We express our deepest gratitude to the dozens of casino workers who injected the Capitol and district offices, first weekly, then daily, with stories of their struggles on the job. It is their collective voice that has challenged the power of the state’s wealthiest casino owners.
Today, a clear choice was made. The Legislature chose to stand with wealthy employers over the workers who create their prosperity.