Detroit Casinos Limit Offerings as Worker Strike Continues – Update

Posted on: October 17, 2023, 07:38h. 

Last updated on: October 18, 2023, 09:59h.

MotorCity Casino and other gaming properties were forced to shutter various services after thousands of Detroit casino workers went on strike on Tuesday. For now, MotorCity has curtailed first-floor slots, high-limit table games, and the poker room.

Jamie Johnson, center, a server at MGM Grand Detroit
Jamie Johnson, center, a server at MGM Grand Detroit, pickets with colleagues. Johnson and thousands of other union members at Detroit casinos went on strike on Tuesday. (Image: Detroit Free Press)

Many other services are also closed at the location. This includes the FanDuel Sportsbook. No wagers are accepted in person or at the kiosks. There will be a cashier at a counter for sportsbook players who want to cash in tickets. Some restaurants, bars, and the valet area are also temporarily closed.

Two other casinos in the area are also affected. MGM Grand Detroit said its casino and hotel valet are currently closed because of the work stoppage. Hollywood Casino at Greektown has temporarily closed its value, and restaurant hours and beverage service may be limited, too.

MotorCity employs a total of 3,700 Detroit casino workers, who are represented by the Detroit Casino Council (DCC). Members of the DCC went on strike at noon on Tuesday.

Casino Execs Respond to Strike

Casino representatives have said they had made generous proposals to the workers.

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,” Hollywood Casino released a statement to CNBC.

Matt Buckley, president and COO of MGM’s Midwest Group, recently spoke to CNBC about the strike.

“We’ve made six proposals to the union, and our current offer includes the single largest pay increase in the history of MGM Grand Detroit,” Buckley told CNBC. 

Employees Defend Strike

But workers defended the decision to strike.

We’re not asking for a lot. We’re asking for one job to be enough. Some of these team members need two and three jobs just to survive,” Susan Gallagher, a bartender at Hollywood Casino at Greektown, told CBS News.

Milledge McCaster, an engineer at Hollywood Casino at Greektown, added, “These are good people that sacrificed a lot through the pandemic. We’re just looking for a fair contract,” CBS News reported.

“You’ve got people here working at MGM who don’t even make enough to have apartments. They are sleeping in their cars,” Johanna Lams, a table games dealer at MGM Grand Detroit and a local UAW chairperson told the Detroit Free Press. “When you start talking about inflation and start talking about pay rate, you’ve got to at least be close, and we’re not right now.”

About the Union

Since September, the DCC and the casinos have been attempting to iron out a new contract. Recently, workers overwhelmingly authorized the strike.

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 also see some 34K United Auto Workers members 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.

Union members last week carried on an informational picket at several casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.