Race vs. Class in Atlantic City: Chinese anti-union worker sues UAW

A Chinese American casino pit boss and his wife are suing the United Auto Workers stemming from an unionization battle in the Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort, the Press of Atlantic city reports.

The couple are suing for $100 million, claiming that union libel and slander caused them emotional distress during an organizing drive last spring. The suit claims that, after the Hilton management recruited employee Wayne Chiw to dissaude Asian-American dealers from joining the UAW, he was harassed through lies about his tactics, including alleged deportations. The UAW's unionization effort was defeated.

Apparently, within the casino industry, union efforts increasingly pivot on the increasing number of Asian employees, many of them immigrant. For example, the Hilton is one-quarter to one-third Asian. Both sides have try to organize them. The paper reports that at least a half-dozen casino dealers have blamed Asians "when a union organizing drive was not going as well as hoped." On the other hand, in June Bally's Atlantic City complained that the UAW has also used Asian Americans. Bally said that "Asian election observers" pointed to a sample ballot's "yes" box in a way that was visible to "Asian voters" before they cast their ballots.

The case raises a lot of issues for Asian American activists. One issue is revolves around the competing interests of race and class. There's also the problematic history of unions and race. Though unions have made attempts to change, Asian Americans presently exert little influence in union hierarchies. However, in our view, the obvious bottom line for deciding these questions is what's best for Asian American workers.

Last and not least, what's with the obsession of Asian Americans with gambling? While Asian Americans, especially immigrants have fewer recreational outlets than others, gambling is a loser's game and create a lot of problems in Asian American communities.