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Senecas Set Deadline

By Joyce Kryszak

Irving, NY – The Seneca Indians are out of patience. The Tribal Council announced Tuesday they are giving Governor Pataki a deadline on the casino deal.

Tribal leaders have agreed. Governor Pataki has until July 31st to either sign the casino compact, or to at least set a deadline for signing it.

If he doesn't, the Senecas say they will ask for federal intervention.

Seneca leaders called the seven week delay in formalizing the deal "ridiculous."

The Senecas approved terms of the casino compact on May 14.

Lucille White is legislative administrator for the Seneca Nation. She said Pataki has been holding out for a guaranteed labor agreement.

"The New York State Government would like the Seneca Nation to adopt New York State labor laws, which we will not do," said White.

"We abide by federal government labor laws, we use those as a guideline. Although, because we are a sovereign government, we have our own human resource policies, and that's what we abide by."

White said the terms of the contract allow for unions to have access to employees. But she says the Senecas will not put into writing that employees must be unionized.

Seneca leaders say the political timeclock is running out. They said that the Seneca Nation, and the Governor, need something to show their voters in November.