Detroit Casino Strikers Reach Tentative Agreement on Contracts, Full Vote Soon
After a significant 32-day strike by 3,700 workers at Michigan casinos in Detroit, a tentative resolution appears to be in sight.
The Detroit Casino Council represents workers across five unions. It recently announced it has reached a preliminary five-year contract agreement with the city’s three casino resorts: MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino, and Hollywood Casino at Greektown.
This deal marks a potential end to the strike that began on October 17, when negotiations for new contracts with the casinos initially failed.
The Detroit workers will continue their strike for now until the agreement is ratified in a vote in the coming days.
“This settlement is a historic investment in Detroit’s future. This new contract brings together workers and employers in partnership to fulfill the gaming industry’s promise to Detroit of high-paying casino jobs with good benefits,” said the Casino Council in a statement.
Key Terms of the Tentative Agreement
The proposed contract includes several notable benefits for the workers.
It promises immediate average pay raises of 18%, no increases in health care costs, workload reductions, job protections, and the introduction of the first technology contract language.
Additionally, the agreement outlines an increase in retirement benefits, addressing a long-standing concern among workers about the stagnation of these benefits over the past eight years.
The strike, involving a wide range of casino employees, including dealers, cleaning staff, food and beverage workers, valets, and engineers, was primarily focused on securing better health care terms, wage increases, improved job security, and fair workloads.
Impacts of the Strike
The three Michigan casino venues, all in Detroit, saw their collective revenue fall to the lowest monthly total since 2020 during the strikes.
The Casino Council had previously used unorthodox tactics in the month-long dispute.
Earlier this month, it called for a boycott of Michigan online casino sites run by the three operators. In October, it sent dozens of striking workers to support their fellow casino employees protesting in Las Vegas, ahead of potential strike action in Sin City that was narrowly averted.
Before the Detroit strike officially ends, the agreement must be ratified by the members of each union involved. While the exact time line for the ratification votes is yet to be determined, they are expected to take place soon. Until then, the workers will continue to strike.
Both Sides Worked Hard for Agreement
The response to the tentative agreement has been largely positive from both sides.
“We are pleased to have reached a tentative agreement with the DCC on a new contract that ends the strike, while giving a historic pay increase to our DCC-represented employees,” said Matt Buckley, president and COO of Midwest Group for MGM Resorts International.
Bruce Dall, president of MotorCity Casino Hotel, and John Drake, vice president and general manager at Hollywood Casino at Greektown, also welcomed the agreement, acknowledging the respectful and productive nature of the negotiations.
From the workers’ perspective, the agreement is seen as a significant victory.
The statement from the Detroit Casino Council, in typical union fashion, focused on individual workers and their thoughts.
“Our strike showed the casino industry and the world just what Detroit’s casino workers are made of,” said Tavera McCree, a valet cashier at Hollywood Casino at Greektown.
Alicia Weaver has been a room attendant at MGM Grand Detroit for more than 20 years, from when it was just a temporary venue in 1999.
“A contract of this significance makes me feel proud to work in Detroit’s casinos once again,” she said.
“Cleaning hotel rooms is a really tough job that gets tougher every year, so the fixes we made in this contract to reduce my daily workload mean less strain on my body and more energy for my family when I get home from work. Everyone on both sides worked hard to get this done.”