The local worker unions confirmed that about 3,700 employees of the three casinos in Detroit walked off their jobs at noon on October 17th after the two parties failed to agree on new contracts. Casino dealers, engineers, food and beverage workers, cleaning staff, and others are on strike at the MGM Grand Casino, the Hollywood Casino and the MotorCity Casino Hotel.
The Detroit Casino Council, which includes UNITE HERE Local 24, the UAW, Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters, Operating Engineers Local 324, and Teamsters Local 1038 and represents the casino workers’ interest, has called for the three casinos to boost their employees’ wages in line with inflation. Furthermore, they want better terms for the workers’ retirement security, as well as technology protections, etc.
Yesterday afternoon, hundreds of MGM Grand Detroit workers walked out of their jobs, pacing the sidewalks around the casino and carrying signs that read “Don’t Gamble with our Future” and “Detroit Casino Workers Need a Raise”. The protesters chanted “If we don’t get it, shut it down.” and “No contract. No peace.”
The contracts between the three Detroit casinos and the worker unions came to an expiration at midnight Monday. The president of UNITE HERE Local 24, Nia Winston, shared that the two parties’ negotiations continued until 3:30 on October 17th morning and also confirmed that casino officials decided to come back to the negotiation table less than an hour before the strike deadline.
Casinos Still Willing to Agree on Fair Terms and Remain Competitive
Ms. Winston that the very minimal movement in the negotiations brought the worker unions and the casino employees to a point where they decided to walk off their jobs and protect their interests in terms of health care, wages, retirement improvements, etc. She said that workers believe that their employers have disrespected them and have taken advantage of them over the last few years. According to her, that was an excellent sign that it was high time for the companies and the worker unions to have their relationship reset.
The president of UNITE HERE Local 24 explained that the big three casino operators in Detroit are currently earning more than ever. Unionized workers, on the other hand, were prepared to remain on strike until they got what they deserved.
As previously reported by CasinoGamesPro, the three casinos’ officials have said that they are committed to reaching a fair agreement with the worker unions.
The president and chief operating officer of MGM Resorts, Matt Buckley, sent a letter to employees to inform them that MGM Grand Detroit would remain operational this week and beyond. He warned that, as an employer, his company would take the necessary lawful actions to fill shifts and continue providing its customers with service. Mr. Buckley further revealed that the company had made six proposals to the worker union and confirmed it would continue to negotiate on the terms to reach an agreement that protects the interests of all parties.
The owner of the Hollywood Casino at Greektown, Penn Entertainment, issued a statement to say that the venue will stay open regardless of the impact that the employee strike has on its operations. The vice president of public affairs for the company said that the Hollywood Casino would continue to welcome guests and serve them but also warned there would be temporary disruptions to valet services and à la carte restaurants.
MotorCity Casino also released a statement, saying that significant progress had been made during the negotiations but the company and the Detroit Casino Council still had not reached an agreement. However, the casino owners remained committed to bargaining “in good faith” and reaching a contract that offered its employees fair terms, on one hand, and allowed the company to remain competitive, on the other hand.