Seneca Nation urges NYS Assembly to pass Compact legislation

By Seneca Nation | June 11, 2023

The Seneca Nation has come to an agreement on a gaming compact with the Governor of New York, and is urging  the New York State Assembly to pass legislation providing the Governor with the authority to finalize and submit that agreement as required by federal law.

“We have come to a fair deal with the State, and it is incumbent of them to hold up their side of the bargain.  The State Senate has already passed the bill providing the Governor authority to complete the deal, and we strongly encourage the Assembly to do the same,” Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong, Sr. said.

It has been brought to the Nation’s attention by New York government officials that there are concerns about the agreement, specifically from localities and organized labor.

“The Seneca Nation unequivocally supports labor unions and workers; members of our own Council are Union representatives or members of organized labor.  The Nation has utilized thousands of union construction workers in building our gaming properties and other Nation facilities. A compact represents an opportunity for new and continued jobs that are vital to our region. It is our goal to add more jobs to the entire region, including more union jobs,” Armstrong said.

Moreover, the authorizing legislation expressly contains several labor protections and requirements that the Nation supports and will uphold such as: requirements to provide labor representatives unimpeded access to Seneca Nation gaming facilities for union campaigns; requirements to allow labor organizers to distribute labor union authorization cards in support of representation; and a requirement that the Nation recognize unions as the exclusive bargaining entity when a union receives a majority of our workers support. The Nation is also committed to working with New York local governments to address any regional concerns.

“The fact of the matter is that we have come to an agreement with the State, and we expect them to ensure they have the authority they need to get this agreement finalized . Any rumblings of opposition are simply a smokescreen for outside special interests who don’t like the idea of a continued gaming agreement between the Nation and State,” Armstrong continued.

Armstrong reiterated that using the last hours of the legislative session to cater to special interests and try alter the Nation’s agreement with the State is inappropriate.

“We know there are many non-Native gaming interests in the State, including those with close ties to elected officials, that would rather not have the Nation as a competitor.  Playing politics with an agreement between sovereign governments, and using workers as an unwilling pawn, is unacceptable. We truly hope that is not the case here, and also strongly encourage the Assembly to move forward with authorizing legislation in these last hours of the legislative session.”

“Our agreement with the State is good for both the State and the Nation, and for our region as a whole. The Nation is committed to seeing our agreement through and getting this done.” Armstrong concluded.