Posted on: November 20, 2023, 10:12h.
Last updated on: November 20, 2023, 10:16h.
After more than a month on the picket lines, workers at two Detroit casinos are returning to work this week while the strike continues at the city’s third major casino.
Workers at Hollywood Casino at Greektown and MotorCity Casino voted over the weekend to ratify a proposed new five-year contract, while those at MGM Grand Casino will remain on strike after their members voted to reject the proposed deal.
Under the new five-year contract, workers will receive an immediate $3/hr pay increase, which will grow to $5/hr over the life of the contract. The result is an average wage increase of 18% for employees, which the union calls the largest pay raise in the history of the Detroit casino industry.
The Detroit Casino Council, a coalition of unions representing the striking workers, said they will seek to schedule additional bargaining dates with MGM to continue contract talks.
The strike began on October 17, when 3,700 employees at the three properties walked off the job to secure better pay, benefits, and job protections. With the ratification vote, 2,100 employees are returning to work at Hollywood and MotorCity casinos as of Sunday evening.
While the casinos remained open during the strike, the reduced workforce led to led to service cutbacks and revenue declines at the properties.
MGM Disappointed, Considers Next Steps
Matt Buckley, president and COO of MGM Grand’s Midwest Group, lamented the result in a letter to employees. According to Buckley, around 600 MGM employees voted in favor of ratifying the contract.
This is a very disappointing result, especially considering the historic nature of our offer and the fact that it would immediately and positively benefit our DCC-represented MGM Grand employees and their families,” Buckley wrote in the letter, a copy of which was shared with Casino.org.
Buckley said MGM would remain open, as it has been since the strike began on October 17, and employees who want to cross the picket line are free to return to work. He didn’t indicate if the two sides have any specific plans to return to the bargaining table.
“I will continue to keep you posted as we consider our options for next steps,” he wrote.
New Contract Includes Better Pay, Benefits
In addition to the pay raise, employees won additional concessions from the casino companies. Workers will face no increase in their health care costs, and they will see lighter workloads going forward.
The new contract also includes new job protections and language related to technology changes. For the first time, employees will be eligible for up to $1,000 in 401k employer match contributions starting in their second year of work. The new contract also includes Juneteenth as a paid holiday.
“The settlements at Hollywood Casino at Greektown and MotorCity Casino represent another win for union workers nationwide fighting for economic justice with a historic wave of strikes that have resulted in big gains for American workers across many industries,” the Detroit Casino Council said in a statement.
The council is a coalition of five unions that represent dealers, cleaning staff, restaurant workers, and other employees: UNITE HERE Local 24, UAW Local 7777, Teamsters Local 1038, Operating Engineers Local 324, and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters.