Detroit Casino Employees Remain on Strike, Sides Close to Agreement

Posted on: October 31, 2023, 01:24h. 

Last updated on: November 1, 2023, 11:38h.

Approximately 3,700 unionized workers have begun the third week of a strike at Detroit’s three gaming properties. However, the union and management are close to an agreement, according to statements made by striking workers to Michigan radio station WSJM.

Detroit casino workers on strike
Detroit casino workers on strike, pictured above. The work stoppage is now in its third week. (Image: WDET)

Casino officials claim they made generous offers to the workers. But the strike officially entered its third week as of noon on Tuesday.

On Monday, workers on the picket line were dressed in Lions’ uniforms in the hope that Detroit Lions fans wouldn’t walk past the picketers, according to the Detroit News. Also, on Monday, the Detroit Casino Council, the union representing the casino workers, asked the pro football fans not to enter the casinos.

We want them to enjoy the game. Just don’t gamble,” Patricia White, a food worker at Hollywood Casino at Greektown, told the News. She was wearing a hooded Lions’ jacket while walking the picket line.

Among the unresolved issues cited by the union are salaries that aren’t keeping up with inflation, inadequate retirement pay, and job protection, given advancing technology.

Hubert Bowden, a former slots attendant, now a poker dealer, said it’s a challenge to pay his bills.

The cost of living has gone up. It makes our bills overwhelming,” Bowden told Detroit News.

The Detroit Casino Council includes the UAW, Unite Here Local 24, Teamsters Local 1038, Operating Engineers Local 324, and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters.

Casinos Continue to Limit Services

Hollywood Casino at Greektown, MGM Grand Detroit, and MotorCity Casino remain open despite the work stoppage that started on October 17. However, they have reduced services in response.

MotorCity has curtailed high-limit table games, first-floor slots, and the poker room. Some restaurants, bars, and the valet area are also temporarily closed. MGM Grand Detroit said its hotel and casino valet services are closed for now. Hollywood Casino at Greektown has temporarily closed its valet, and restaurant hours and beverage service may also be limited.

Strike Possible in Las Vegas

In Las Vegas, 95% of Culinary Union workers have authorized a strike for gaming properties.

Some 40K of the 60K union members currently work without a contract. Salary, workload, and job security are among the unresolved issues. Union workers are continuing negotiations.

Last Wednesday, some 75 Culinary Union members and officials were arrested after they blocked traffic on Las Vegas Boulevard. It was part of an effort to highlight their current labor dispute.