CTNJ file photo
UAW table dealers at the Capitol earlier this month (CTNJ file photo)

The United Auto Workers union filed this lawsuit against the state Department of Transportation Thursday claiming it denied its request for permits to picket the opening of the MGM Grand at Foxwoods Casino this weekend.

The UAW planned on lining up along four entrances to the casino on an approximately one mile stretch of Route 2 in Ledyard, in an effort to publicize its right to organize and join a union. The lawsuit claims that even though table dealers at the casino voted in favor of a union last November and the election results were upheld this March by a judge—Foxwoods still refuses to recognize it.

The lawsuit claims the DOT denied its permit to protest on May 13 without stating a reason. When the union pressed for an answer they were told May 14 that its request was incomplete because it did not include a traffic control plan. When the union submitted its traffic control plan, the lawsuit claims, DOT told it, it would have to also provide all of the traffic control equipment including things like cones and road barriers.

Peter Goselin, the union’s attorney, wrote in the lawsuit, “These ad hoc rules…constitute an undue and excessive burden on the Plaintiff’s right to speak freely and assemble.”

On May 14 the union submitted a second revised request for a special events permit. The lawsuit says the permit included specific information requested by the DOT, but not listed as part of the requirements on the DOT web site. The second revised request also asked the DOT to waive its requirements for a local traffic control plan because “creation of such a plan in the format provided by the defendant was beyond the expertise or ability of the union and placed an undue burden on the union’s ability to lawfully engage in activity protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

“We’re not walking away from this demonstration – we’ll be there throughout the weekend.  This will be a fun event, and we have a legal right to demonstrate in front of Foxwoods with or without a permit,” Bob Madore, director of UAW Region 9A, said in a press release late Thursday evening.  “UAW members and our labor and community allies will be there making noise, giving out information, and showing our full support of the gaming employees at Foxwoods.”

The temporary injunction will be heard Friday in US District Court in Hartford.