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Tony Batt

High Court denies Venetian's appeal

19 March 2008

WASHINGTON, DC -- Without comment, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied The Venetian's appeal of last year's ruling by a federal circuit court that the casino violated U.S. labor law in March 1999.

The Supreme Court's refusal to hear the appeal means the casino will be required to post a notice on its premises for 60 days acknowledging it violated federal labor law and will no longer interfere with employees' right to organize into a union.

The Venetian failed to comply with the National Labor Relations Act when its employees used loudspeakers to warn more than 1,000 members of the Culinary and Bartenders unions against rallying on a sidewalk outside the casino.

"The Venetian has no property right to the sidewalk that permits it to prevent people, like the demonstrators here, from exercising their First Amendment rights by airing to the public and to prospective employees grievances about The Venetian's employment practices," according to a decision issued in May 2007 by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.

The circuit court's ruling also found The Venetian violated the National Labor Relations Act when one of its security guards made a citizen's arrest of Culinary union officer Glen Arnodo.

Finally, the circuit court said the National Labor Relations Board should determine if The Venetian committed another violation by asking the Las Vegas police to keep the demonstrators off the sidewalk. The NLRB still has not issued a ruling on that issue.

Michael Anderson, a Boston attorney representing the Culinary and Bartender unions, said he was not surprised by the Supreme Court's rejection of The Venetian's appeal.

"(The appeal) was a pretty desperate measure," Anderson said. "It was clear to the Supreme Court that the decision by the circuit court was well within the scheme of existing laws."

Ron Reese, a spokesman for The Venetian, declined to comment on the Supreme Court's action.