MGM Grand Detroit Strike Ends with New Contract

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After 47 days of striking, hospitality workers at MGM Grand Detroit have ratified a new five-year contract, marking the end of one of the longest strikes in the history of U.S. casinos.

The agreement includes significant wage increases and other substantial benefits for the venue’s 1,700 unionized employees. The deal was agreed to by the casino operator, Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International, and various local unions represented by the Detroit Casino Council.

The largest wage increase in history for employees at the casino sets a new standard for wages at Michigan casinos. The two other Detroit gambling venues, Hollywood Casino Greektown and MotorCity Detroit, agreed to new contracts with their striking workers in late November.

However, the strike at MGM continued for another week. That is now over, bringing the final ongoing U.S. casino worker’s strike of 2023 to an end.

“I am happy to announce that MGM employees ratified their contract tonight. I am impressed by how all the unions and members worked together to win an excellent contract. I’m looking forward to going back to work,” said Patrick Nichols, a dealer at MGM Grand Detroit and member of UAW Local 7777, in a statement from the Detroit Casino Council.

Key Terms of the New Contract

The ratified contract grants workers an immediate $3 per hour raise, accumulating to a $5 per hour increase over the contract’s duration.

This adjustment represents an average 18% wage increase, closely aligning with the initial union demands of a 21% hike, which matched the inflation rate in Detroit since the last contract was established.

Additionally, the agreement maintains current health care standards without additional costs for employees, and introduces workload reductions in housekeeping, a department impacted by a reduced workforce following the pandemic.

The contracts also include technology protections for employees. This guarantees advance notification to the union when new technology is introduced that could affect jobs or necessitate new training.

Other negotiated benefits include a bonus option for the second contract year, the first 401k match up to $1,000, and the establishment of a paid Juneteenth holiday​​.

“We’re glad our DCC-represented employees voted tonight to ratify the 64-month contract and end the strike, allowing us to immediately resume full and normal operations at MGM Grand Detroit,” said Matt Buckley, president and COO of MGM Resorts International Midwest, speaking to Reuters.

Workers Made History

Many of the Detroit casino workers concerns echoed those of workers at Nevada casinos in Las Vegas, who earlier this year came very close to joining their Detroit compatriots in striking.

Workers in Detroit walked out on October 17 at all three of the city’s casinos. The striking workers called for a boycott of the relevant operators’ Michigan online casinos during the strike, and operations were severely disrupted at all three venues.

The successful conclusion of the Detroit strike was a result of concerted efforts by the Detroit Casino Council, comprising five unions: UNITE HERE Local 24, UAW Local 7777, Teamsters Local 1038, Operating Engineers Local 324, and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters.

These unions collectively represented the interests of the striking workers, advocating for fair compensation and better working conditions amid record revenues for the booming U.S. gambling sector.

“Together – with the rest of our MGM family who stood with us on that picket line in the rain and frigid temperatures – we made history, and I’m proud of what we accomplished by taking a stand together,” said Alicia Weaver, a guest room attendant with 24 years’ experience at MGM Detroit.

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