July 31, 2007

Gaming tribes vs. union

Union seeks popular vote on casinosAgreements signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last August and approved by the Legislature this spring allow four Indian tribes to add as many as 17,000 slot machines to the 8,000 they already operate at casinos. The Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians won approval to expand its casino just south of Temecula from 2,000 slots to as many as 7,500, possibly dwarfing the largest in Las Vegas.

UNITE HERE, the nation's largest hotel-workers union, filed paperwork Friday with the state attorney general's office, the first step toward taking the issue to voters. The union would need to gather about 434,000 signatures in the next two months to put the referenda on the ballot for the Feb. 5 presidential primary election.

The union had demanded that the agreements--known as compacts--include provisions to make it easier to unionize casinos. Side agreements negotiated just days before the Assembly approved the compacts in late June include additional financial oversight, but not the provisions that the union wanted.

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