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Benefit Takebacks at Foxwoods Resort Prompts Creation of
 Anonymous Web Site To Air Employee Complaints

By Scott Ritter, The Day, New London, Conn.McClatchy-Tribune Business News

Dec. 12, 2006 - The head of an employee group at Foxwoods Resort Casino said he knows workers are frustrated by recent reductions in benefits, but said the group is not endorsing a New Year's walkout called for by an anonymous Web site.

Steve Getchell, chairperson of the Employee Group Council, which acts as a liaison between employees and casino management, said the workplace issues should first be addressed through negotiations. He said he's reported employees' concerns to Foxwoods President John O'Brien, but hasn't yet received a response.

"Professionalism should prevail," Getchell said Monday. "You should keep a cool head and negotiate."

An anonymous Web site, Madatfoxwoods.com, is urging workers to walk out during the busy New Year's holiday. The Web site said it had received more than 14,000 visits since it went up earlier this month.

Foxwoods employs more than 10,000 people.

"We are aware of exactly what they're talking about and their frustrations," Getchell said. "A walkout is not the best way to go about it. There's a need for something to happen, I'm just not sure that's the right thing."

A spokesman for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, Foxwoods' owner, declined to comment Monday. Foxwoods says its benefits package remains one of the best in the industry.

The Employee Group Council -- made up of workers from most every department at the casino -- is meeting this morning and cuts in benefits top the agenda.

Madatfoxwoods.com lists a slew of workplace complaints, ranging from higher medical-insurance deductibles to meager pay raises and limits on when employees can take vacations. Morale among workers is at an all-time low, the site said.

By Monday, the Web site had grown to include four pages of anonymous employee grievances. Later in the day, the site was down because of heavy use.

"This is not just about calling out for a few days in protest and then back to work as normal," the Web site said. "We're talking about informing the company of our intentions to walk out New Year's Eve and demanding good-faith negotiations. And not coming back until they agree."

The Employees Group Council, according to the site, should represent the unhappy workers.

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To see more of The Day, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.theday.com.

Copyright (c) 2006, The Day, New London, Conn.

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