Because legislation impacts American businesses and governments, citizens and groups will often legally challenge what they consider an overreach or intrusion. Public watchdog groups and political analysts may concentrate on the federal government, but gaming executives should also monitor those gaming state governors. How are these governors handling losses, additional taxation or labor?
American unions arose from labor issues throughout the 20th century. To halt the frequent horrific working conditions and child labor of the early 1900s, the federal government passed the Clayton Act in 1914. It specified “the labor of a human being is not a commodity or article of commerce.“  
This law paved the way for modern organized labor to establish strong organizational power in many American industries. However, unions have historically also been plagued with corruption and legal problems.  
As working conditions have improved, private union membership has significantly declined. The early 20th century sweat shops have disappeared and child labor, even for teens, is now strictly regulated.
Looking to expand their reach, unions have recruited casino employees nationwide as gaming has proliferated. I question their necessity and whether they have proven beneficial in the end.
I worked for years at my family’s non-union vending/amusement company. It would be an understatement to say my father opposed organized labor during his 45 years in business. His attitude was clear: he built it and would run it his way without outside forces setting policies. Employees were free to come and go if they disagreed with conditions. Truthfully, multiple generations of families found our office a friendly place to work, often staying for years.
Don’t gaming executives and their corporations offer solid working conditions, pay and benefits to attract quality employees? Should an outside party require certain working criteria to create a fair working environment? Because they almost always adds costs, do these extras affect hiring decisions and expenditures?
The answer probably depends on which side of the labor “fence” you sit. Last spring, I wrote that CEO Kevin DeSanctis had rejected the unions‘ presence in many key jobs at the newly-opened Revel in Atlantic City. Twelve months later, DeSanctis is out, the property is under bankruptcy protection and its operation is restructuring.  But, Revel has had other troubles, and the employee situation was the least of them.
In America, while private union memberships have diminished, public sector unions have boomed with expanded government programs. But, voters are dissatisfied with any power growth for unions, particularly at taxpayers’ cost.
Last  June, Wisconsin voters decided to retain its governor, who had battled the public unions for years, in a recall vote. In the November 2012 election, Michigan voters rejected legislation to change the state’s constitution to include union collective bargaining.
In a stunning reversal from its historic strong union affiliations, the state of Michigan officially became a Right to Work state on March 28. This legislation bars any new negotiated contracts to require workers pay union dues or agency fees as a condition of their employment.
Three commercial casinos, employing more than 7,000, operate in Detroit. As the contracts of unionized workers expires, no one can be sure what will happen.
The U.S. is split between 24 Right to Work states, including 10 of 22 commercial gaming states, and 26 that aren’t. How will these laws impact gaming operations in those 24 states?
The Right to Work states like gaming giants Nevada, Mississippi and Louisiana are located primarily in the South, Midwest and West. The unions have traditionally been too politically powerful on the East Coast to lose their strongholds in states like New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York.
Unions hold enough clout for political candidates to seek their endorsements. Nationally,  leadership and membership contributed hundreds of millions to Barack Obama’s campaign. Why? Because they support his “fair share” philosophy of equal results, which is based on his perspective of economic/social justice.
This opposes the viewpoint of compensation and advancement rewards for individual talent and skill. Unions advocate the same group pay and benefits, regardless of actual job performance.
The national picture is murky. In January 2013, the Court of Appeals ruled that Obama’s three appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in 2012 was an unconstitutional act of presidential power. This decision will force the re-evaluations of 200 NLRB decisions. Many economists believe many of these union and business relations decisions have eroded a stable business climate.
How this affects gaming operations remains to be seen.