Following the expiration of the existing contract with Detroit’s 3 casinos and without a new contract, a large number of unionized employees at the Detroit’s 3 casinos officially began a strike on October 17th.
Strike as a result of disagreement:
Approximately 3,700 unionized workers at MotorCity Casino, MGM Grand Detroit and Hollywood Casino at Greektown went on strike at noon on that date. Additionally, it was assumed that the union contract that the employees had with the mentioned casinos ended on October 16, however, that initial deadline was moved to October 17 at noon.
The main reason for the strike was a disagreement over salaries and health care expenses, especially as business recovers from the pandemic. In this regard, on October 16, according to Local 4 union members said: “We don’t want to strike amid what they called hard times, but we feel like we need to be heard.” Union officials, stated in a press release: “The workers are seeking contract improvements after years of pandemic hardship — including wages that keep up with inflation, healthcare, retirement security, technology language, fair workloads for housekeepers, and more — but casino management has been unwilling to deliver a fair contract for workers.”
Moreover, in a letter released yesterday, Chairman and COO of MGM’s Midwest Group, Matt Buckley, commented: “MGM Grand Detroit has offered six proposals to the union, which include its largest pay increase in the casino’s history. The company recognizes the union’s right to strike, but will ensure the casino continues operating normally amid the strike. We intend to continue to operate our business during any potential strike and will remain open this week and beyond. We will continue to offer employees work, and to the extent employees represented by the union choose to participate in the strike, we will take whatever lawful action is necessary to fill shifts and continue providing our customers with entertainment and service.”
Progress of negotiations on a new contract:
According to insiders, contract negotiations advanced on October 16. Also, according to union officials, the bargaining committee worked through the entire night to design a counter proposal, but has yet to receive a response from the casinos.
Almost each of union casino workers, aka 99%, voted to allow the strike. Additionally, in compliance with the information provided by the Unite Here union, the strike could affect the casinos in a large measure, as well as the City of Detroit and the state of Michigan, jeopardizing roughly $738.000 in state taxes and income and $3.4 million in casino operator incomes per day. This is important because Detroit’s 3 casinos are some of the largest tax generators for Detroit, according to the Associated Press.
In addition, 5 unions represent casino employees according to the Detroit Casino Council. These unions are: Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters, Unite Here and the United Auto Workers, Teamsters and Operating Engineers. On a related note, Hollywood Casino at Greektown said in a statement: “We are disappointed by the decision of the Detroit Casino Council as we have made generous, progressive settlement offers that position our team members and business for sustainable success. We will remain open for business to serve our customers and are committed to continued good-faith bargaining with the Detroit Casino Council to resolve the issues at hand as soon as possible.” Motorcity executives also said: “We remain committed to bargaining in good faith and we will remain open amid the strike.”