The casino workers from Detroit keep trying to improve the work conditions, and the next step is the strike. The Detroit Casino Council (DCC) confirmed that the union members voted in favor of the strike if it proves necessary.
The strike overwhelmingly approved:
The high 99% of workers from three Detroit casinos approved the strike after the negotiations related to the salary increase in MGM Grand Detroit, Greektown’s Hollywood, and MotorCity.
According to the DCC, the strikes will begin when contracts expire in the first half of October.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the workers agreed to sign new three-year contracts with minimal wage increases since the casino owners were struggling because of the current situation, and the employees wanted to help. However, the situation changed in the last three years. The measures were lifted, and online gaming was legalized, so the companies easily surpassed the revenues they were getting before the pandemic. Workers recognized that and started discussing the salary increases at the end of September.
The council commented on that: “Detroit’s casino workers are getting left behind. Workers are hoping to win contract gains that would bring Detroit casino jobs back in line with the standard of good jobs that were promised to hospitality workers when voters approved legalizing casino gaming in 1996, and the City Council later authorized the three casinos.”
As the Detroit News reports, among others, the points of discussion are retirement plans and protection from the new technologies.
High revenue followed by expectations:
In August 2023, the Detroit casinos earned $104.9 million in total. In 2022, the gaming revenue broke the record – it was $2.27 billion. Judging from the first few months’ revenue, this year, another record will be hit.
The Detroit Casino Council worker negotiating committee consists of five unions from the Detroit casinos: UNITE HERE Local 24, UAW, Teamsters Local 1038, Operating Engineers Local 324, and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters.
Nia Winston, a President of UNITE HERE Local 24, commented: “Workers are fed up in an economy that is broken: Costs keep going up, but when profits came back to the gaming industry, they didn’t go into workers’ pockets. Just like auto workers, Blue Cross Blue Shield staff, UPS workers, writers, and hotel workers, Detroit casino workers are considering all options available to make sure one job in a Detroit casino is enough to raise a family on. We expect the casinos to heed our concerns to avoid a strike.”
A President of UAW Local 7777, Terri Sykes, thinks that the main reason that lies behind the strike is putting an effort during the pandemic and spending its own time and energy for the company, but without adequate compensation.