NLRB Settles Federal Suit Against the U.S. Virgin Islands, Ensuring that Unions May Freely Represent Employees of Casino-related Businesses
On January 28, 2022, the Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Virgin Islands Casino Control Commission agreed to a settlement requiring that the Commission:
- Rescind an Order against the Virgin Islands Workers Union, Local 611, which prohibited the Union from representing employees of the Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort under threat of criminal and civil sanctions;
- Rescind an Order directing the Union to withdraw an unfair labor practice charge filed with the National Labor Relations Board under threat of criminal and civil sanctions;
- Permit unions to represent employees of entities covered by the Virgin Islands Casino and Resort Control Act, so long as the union submits a registration application to the Casino Control Commission; and
- Not take any administrative, civil, or criminal enforcement action against any person because of their participation in an NLRB proceeding or investigation, or other exercise of rights under the National Labor Relations Act.
The settlement agreement resolves federal litigation against the Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Virgin Islands Casino Control Commission, which began with a complaint filed by the NLRB’s Contempt, Compliance, and Special Litigation Branch in the District Court of the Virgin Islands on February 14, 2020. The NLRB alleged that the Commission’s maintenance and enforcement of certain territorial casino regulations exceeded its Congressional authority in violation of federal law by:
- impairing employee and union rights under the NLRA;
- impairing the obligation to bargain collectively under the NLRA; and
- impairing the NLRB’s investigatory and remedial powers.
After the territorial government’s motions to dismiss were rejected by the court, the parties agreed to resolve the dispute through a settlement agreement recognizing the primacy of the NLRA over the Casino Resort and Control Act.
“This settlement demonstrates the General Counsel’s commitment to ensuring that workers’ Section 7 rights will not be undermined by local law,” said Associate General Counsel Nancy Platt. “As a consequence, employers will no longer be able to hide behind local law to avoid a federal obligation to collectively bargain with their employees. I’m very proud of the CCSLB trial attorneys who litigated the case and helped bring about this settlement that fortifies the Section 7 right of employees to select a representative and collectively bargain with their employer.”
Established in 1935, the National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency that protects employees from unfair labor practices and protects the right of private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve wages, benefits and working conditions. The NLRB conducts hundreds of workplace elections and investigates thousands of unfair labor practice charges each year.