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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Gelber wants Crist to protect casino workers



Rep. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach, the ranking Democrat in the House, is urging Gov. Charlie Crist to make sure casino workers are protected in the Indian Gaming Compact. He wrote in a letter today:

"While I personally oppose expansions of gambling in our beautiful state, I recognize that there is a credible belief that the state’s failure to negotiate a compact may result in the federal government making such decisions for us. If we are going to take on this task to avoid the federal government doing so, I think it is important that Floridians working at these Indian tribal gaming facilities ought to be assured that their personal health, safety and welfare will be respected and such guarantees should be included in the provisions of any state gaming compact. Moreover, I would ask that you give as much consideration to the rights of employees as you give to the issue of state revenue enhancement."

In South Florida especially, Indian gaming facilities have become major employers.  However, their workers are uniquely vulnerable because they work for enterprises owned by sovereign Indian tribes, and state labor laws, such as minimum wage, overtime regulations and the ability to enter into collective bargaining agreements do not apply to them. Gaming employees in authorized facilities in Broward County, for example, have organized and have employment rights which are guaranteed under state and federal law and are subject to an existing collective bargaining agreement negotiated with those facility owners.

As always, I appreciate your time and attention to this matter and, as a member of the Florida Legislature, look forward to our opportunity to provide input to your negotiations on behalf of the state as well as any final version of any Florida Indian gaming compact.

Sincerely yours,

Dan Gelber

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 12:59pm]


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