Strike Action in the Cards for Detroit Casino Workers as Negotiations Continue

Drastic action looming

Strike action is looking likely for casino workers in Detroit, with their current contracts set to expire on Monday night.

They are seeking higher wages and to hold onto their existing healthcare plans. Dozens of these workers prepared picket signs and donned union shirts on Thursday afternoon as union leaders continued negotiating with the three casinos in the city.

UNITE HERE Local 24 President Nia Winston spoke at a press conference on Thursday. Affirming that casino jobs used to be the best in the region’s hospitality sector, she said the goal of the negotiations is to make sure that this remains the case.

called upon the casinos to “stop gambling on our livelihoods.”

She argued that the demands are basic and shouldn’t be an issue for employers. Noting that the sides are still “far apart” on the issue, she called upon the casinos to “stop gambling on our livelihoods.”

Doing what is necessary

The MotorCity, Hollywood at Greektown, and MGM Grand Detroit are the three casinos in the Michigan city of Detroit. Officials from each of these casinos have confirmed that they intend to come to an agreement that is fair for all parties.

The Detroit Casino Council (DCC) confirmed in late September that union members were 99% in favor of holding a strike if the negotiating committee deemed it necessary. This could happen as early as Tuesday morning.

employee wages at Detroit’s casinos are $34m lower now than in 2019

The DCC also noted that gaming revenues have hit all-time highs in recent times, while employee wages at Detroit’s casinos are $34m lower now than in 2019.

The DCC is made up of five unions with a total of 3,700 members. This member base covers various roles at the properties, including dealers, valets, cleaners, and engineers.

Seeking assurances

The current casino worker contracts came into place in September 2020 shortly after the pandemic-enforced closures of casinos came to an end. It saw workers receive just a small increase in their wages in an attempt to help their employers “get back on their feet.”

In addition to wanting a bump in pensions and wages, workers also have concerns about the rollout of new technology that could threaten certain roles, as well as potentially leading to lower workloads. The number of people that the three casinos employ is reportedly 1,500 lower than pre-pandemic levels.



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