Detroit Casino Workers Remain on Strike, Properties Open

Posted on: October 23, 2023, 06:09h. 

Last updated on: October 24, 2023, 12:32h.

Detroit’s three casinos remain open as thousands of workers enter their second week of a work stoppage. Some 3,700 workers went off the job last Tuesday after their contracts expired. They include cleaning staff, engineers, food and beverage servers, table game dealers, and valets.

Workers picker outside of MotorCity Casino Hotel
Workers picket outside of MotorCity Casino Hotel, pictured above. The strike is going into its second week. (Image: Axios)

MotorCity Casino Hotel, MGM Grand Detroit, and Hollywood Casino at Greektown continue offering reduced services, even though the properties still welcome guests during the strike. 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.

“We intend to continue to operate our business during this time and will remain open this week and beyond,” MGM Grand Detroit said in an online statement. “We are making every effort to ensure that our guests are not inconvenienced by this matter.”

Hollywood Casino at Greektown has temporarily closed its valet, and restaurant hours and beverage service may also be limited. MGM Grand Detroit said its casino and hotel valet service is currently closed because of the strike.

Casino officials claim they made generous offers to the workers.

Unions Refuse Offer

However, the Detroit Casino Council (DCC), which represents the employees, criticized the offers from management, such as an inadequate salary and high workloads, a lack of health care protection and job security, and insufficient retirement pay.

Making the decision to strike is never easy, but it’s past time for the workers who keep Detroit’s casinos running to get their fair share,” Nia Winston, president of Unite Here, Local 24, said in a recent statement. “The city’s big three casino operators are earning more than ever, and we’re prepared to stay out on strike until we get what we deserve.”

Terri Sykes, a dealer at MotorCity Casino and president of UAW Local 7777, said she is a two-time breast cancer survivor.

“I’m fighting to protect our health care,” she said in a statement. “These companies are making more than ever, and it’s time they respect us for all the sacrifices we made to keep the doors open during the pandemic.”

In September 2020, workers got a three-year contract extension. Detroit casino workers were given a 3% increase. In 2022, the Detroit casino sector got $2.27B in gaming revenue. The industry is projected to hit a record-breaking year in 2023.

Canadian Casino Appeal to Area Gamblers

Ontario’s Caesars Windsor Hotel & Casino is attempting to lure casino visitors to the Windsor, Canada property. It’s just 2.5 miles from Detroit.

U.S. visitors have always been an important part of our business, and we welcome them to visit our property, either for the first time or for a return visit, to experience our world-class Caesars brand,” Susanne Tomkins, manager of public relations and communications at Caesars Windsor, told the Windsor Star.

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

Michigan and other states now also see many United Auto Workers members on strike. In Las Vegas, the Culinary and Bartenders Union said 95% of its workers voted to authorize a strike if contract negotiations with the casino operators fail to produce a new agreement.