First, it seems the United Auto Workers wanted to protect casino workers from the ills of smoking and second-hand smoke, even going so far as celebrating when Atlantic City banned smoking in casinos.
Blathering on their website in April that "Secondhand smoke is a serious occupational hazard for casino workers," the UAW fought to get the smoking ban in Atlantic City, which will go into effect Oct. 15.
Meanwhile, in Connecticut the UAW fought and, ultimately, failed to get smoking banned at the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos.
In Detroit, the UAW seems to be missing from Michigan's current debate on smoking bans. Perhaps the union, like the Detroit casino management, is finally realizing that killing smoking in casinos may just kill their jobs--smokers and non-smokers alike.
That said, last week the United Auto Workers did a hypocritical about-face on the whole smoking issue when heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar decided to ban smoking at all of its U.S. properties.
Instead of applauding the effort to snuff out Caterpillar's smokers, the UAW filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board.
After denying the right of smokers to puff away as they drop their nickels, dimes and dollars, the UAW has taken the position at Caterpillar that smoking has been a 'contractual privilege for 60 years'.
What's more, it's not like Caterpillar's ban caught the UAW with its pants down--the Company announced the ban last fall.
It sounds to us like the UAW is trying to have its smoke blow both ways...
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