Dealers at Foxwoods ratify 6-year deal retroactive to 2020
Mashantucket — Members of the labor union representing table games dealers at Foxwoods Resort Casino have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new six-year contract that’s retroactive to Jan. 1, 2020, and extends to the end of 2025, union officials said Tuesday.
The previous contract between Local 2121 of the United Auto Workers and the Mashantucket Pequot-owned casino expired Dec. 31, 2019.
The outcome of the ratification vote, which took place Saturday, was 420-13 in favor of the new contract, David C. Church, the union president, wrote in an email.
“After three plus years of negotiating and preparing for interest arbitration, we were able to present an agreement that provided a lump sum payment for those working through the uncertain times of 2020, and retroactive wages for 2021, 2022, and 2023 as well as wage increases through 2025,” Church wrote. “With the bargaining unit smaller than pre-COVID numbers, the members who may be demoted through rebid will retain full-time medical benefits for their families and other fringe benefits offered through our CBA (collective bargaining agreement).”
The union represents 755 table games dealers and “dual rates” dealers who sometimes serve in supervisory roles — as well as poker dealers. Membership has fallen by about 400 since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Church also wrote that the union’s bargaining committee secured better health care coverage by leaving the health plan offered by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and joining one offered by another union, the UFCW Trust.
“In doing so, part-time employees will also be offered ancillary benefits of dental, optical coverage, a short-term disability plan and life insurance for the first time ever,” he wrote. “We are extremely happy with the contract we were able to present to our members and it is a testament to what workers can attain through collective bargaining.”
Jason Guyot, Fowoods president and chief executive officer, said he, too, was pleased with the contract settlement.
“It’s taken a long time,” he said, referring to protracted negotiations. “We continued to work during COVID but really in the last 12 months, we’ve honed in on it. The sides came to a mutually beneficial agreement that supports our team members and can take us forward.”
The terms of the previous contract had remained in effect while the new contract was being negotiated. Dating back to 2010, the new contract is the fourth reached between Foxwoods and the dealers’ union.
During negotiations, the union proposed that Foxwoods ban smoking from the casino’s gaming areas, according to Andrew Goodrich, a former Local 2121 president who now is a UAW regional representative and served as Local 2121’s chief negotiator in the talks with Foxwoods management. Goodrich said Foxwoods was unwilling to agree to a smoking ban.
Guyot said Foxwoods currently allows no smoking inside the casino.
“The union’s position is that the state legislature left our workers behind when they allowed the casinos to remain smoking while protecting the rest of the state’s workers,” Goodrich wrote in an email. “We hope this will be corrected in the future, so our members will never again have to choose between their health and providing for their families.”
Foxwoods and the Mashantuckets have current labor contracts with four other unions representing bartenders, slot technicians, firefighters and workers who clean and maintain the casino.