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Labor board's tribal ruling a surprise to many

The National Labor Relations Board's ruling subjecting tribal enterprises to federal labor law comes as a shock to tribal leaders.

The board, in a 3-1 decision released last Thursday, overruled 30 years of precedent to assert jurisdiction over on-reservation tribal businesses. Tribal leaders, attorneys and advocates were surprised by this wide-reaching action.

"I am dumbfounded that the board just winked at federal policy that had stood for many years," Deron Marquez, chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the tribe involved in the case, told The Riverside Press-Enterprise.

The tribe is planning an appeal. Several tribes, and the National Indian Gaming Association, had filed amicus briefs with the labor board. The dispute could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Get the Story:
Ruling cuts clout of tribe (The Riverside Press-Enterprise 6/8)
Ruling Favors Casino Unions (The Hartford Courant 6/8)
NLRB: Federal Labor Laws Apply On Reservations (The New London Day 6/8)

National Labor Review Board Decisions:
San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino | Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation

Federal Court Decisions:
NAT'L LABOR RELATIONS BD v. SAN JUAN PUEBLO (10th Circuit January 11, 2002) | NAT'L LABOR RELATIONS BD. v. CHAPA DE INDIAN HEALTH PROGRAM, INC (9th Ciruit January 16, 2003)

Relevant Links:
San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino -
Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union -

Related Stories:
Board rules tribes subject to labor law (6/4)
Arbiter allows pro-union flyers by tribal employees (03/26)
Pro-union hearing blasts Calif. tribe for sovereignty (03/17)
N.M. tribe seals winning case on labor laws (12/09)
Settlement pending in tribal labor dispute (08/07)
Court denies tribal exemption from labor laws (01/17)
Tribal labor bill draws complaints (04/18)
Pueblo wins sovereignty case (1/14)