Language & Linguistics Expert Witnesses Testify At NLRB Hearing – Part 2

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, owner of the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Hartford CT, has challenged the November vote by dealers to unionize. During the NLRB hearing, the tribe questioned why the ballots were printed only in English and why an election notice was only printed in one Chinese dialect. Both the tribe and the UAW called their own language and linguistics expert witnesses to testify. Heather Allen of The also reports that the UAW’s expert witness, Guanhua Wang, an associate professor of history at the University of Connecticut said:

…the difference in the two languages really comes down to 2,000 to 3,000 written characters. Professor Wang said in traditional Chinese, there are probably 50,000 to 60,000 written characters and only a couple of thousand look differently. In a perfect world, the educator said, both the simplified and traditional translations would be included, but he said it is not always the case…

Richard Hankins, one of the three attorneys representing the tribe, noted that in the last five years, the NLRB regional office has held 24 union elections, and in only one – the Foxwoods election – were the ballots not printed in other languages. He added that more than a quarter of the eligible voters in the election – about 700 dealers – identify themselves as Asian or Pacific Islander, proving that “a significant percentage of those voters need written communication in Chinese.”