Cal. union power prevails

Sep 5, 2006 5:20 AM

It turned into a power struggle between two major political forces in California: the tribal nations that have seen their finances grow mightily since the advent of casinos and the union bosses who retain a major influence over the Democrat-controlled state legislature.

And the unions won.

Scrapped was the plan by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to rewrite the gaming compacts so that the tribes could add some 23,000 slot machines to their properties.

Among the companies that were impacted on Wall Street was International Game Technology (IGT) whose shares fell a bit after moving up sharply throughout the week.

A new legislative body, to be elected in November, will address the issue come December when they convene for another session.

For his part, Schwarzenegger, who hopes to benefit from his support for the Indians, said he will again try to get the new compacts approved, should he win re-election.

Professor Nelson Rose, long a recognized expert both in the gaming field and in Indian gaming, said it looked to him that the Indians underestimated the power of labor groups that have been big supporters of the Democrats who are in control of the legislature.

Union officials said they opposed the new compacts because they would make it harder for the casino workers to unionize.