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California tribe ponders next move in labor case

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is debating its next move in a labor case that has drawn national attention.

The National Labor Relations Board overturned 30 years of precedent and ruled that it has jurisdiction over tribal disputes when certain test are met. The tests include whether the tribal enterprise is commercial in nature, whether it employs non-Indians and whether it impacts non-Indians.

The board's decision is only the first step in the case, which has yet to be heard on the merits. But the tribe could appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has ruled against tribal sovereignty under federal labor law, or the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The issue was discussed at the National Congress of Americans mid-year session on the Mohegan Reservation in Connecticut yesterday. A lawyer who represents several tribes said he expected a court challenge.

Get the Story:
NLRB opinions appear at odds (The Riverside Press-Enterprise 6/23)

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

Federal Court Decisions:
Snyder v. Navajo Nation (June 10, 2004) | 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 -

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