The Associated Press

Jackson, Mississippi

February 4, 2000,

Union Organizer Told To Halt Recruiting

A union organizer has been told to stop recruiting casino workers on the coast until he registers his union with the state and receives approval.

Peter A. Fosco, a representative of the Laborers International Union of North America, has been meeting with coast casino workers over the past month and signing up union support.

State gambling regulations require unions or union representatives to get the state Gaming Commission's approval before even seeking to represent casino employees.

Chuck Patton, executive director of the Gaming Commission, said he was not sure from reading the regulations what penalty, if any, applies to a union or union official failing to register. "We're writing to inform them of the requirements," said Patton. "I understand people may not be familiar with our regulations. We've asked that they not continue until they have been approved."

Fosco could not be reached for comment.

The union is seeking to organize most of the nearly 4,000 workers at the Beau Rivage casino resort in Biloxi. As of last week, it had signed up more than 100 from various coast casinos. Fosco said last month that Beau Rivage workers had requested the union's help.

The union has a lengthy history of corruption and organized crime influence. A controversial 1995 U.S. Justice Department oversight plan, in which the Clinton administration allowed the union to carry out its own cleanup, ended just this week.

The internal reform led to the ouster of 220 union officials, including Fosco's father, Peter J. Fosco.

Peter J. Fosco was accused of wrongdoing that included arranging to be paid for work he did not perform and seeking monthly cash payments from his staff and expensive Christmas gifts from union officials.

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