Detroit Evening Report: Casino workers prepare to strike as contract expiration nears

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Casino workers are seeking higher wages, better retirement benefits and protections against new technology during contract negotiations, which began in September.

Unionized workers from Detroit’s three casinos — MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino, and Hollywood at Greektown — voted overwhelmingly late last month to authorize a strike if deemed necessary by the Detroit Casino Council (DCC).
The council will be holding a press conference tomorrow about the status of ongoing contract negotiations before the agreement expires on Monday, Oct. 16.

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The DCC is made up of five unions: UNITE HERE Local 24, United Auto Workers, Teamsters Local 1038, Operating Engineers Local 324 and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters, which represent Casino workers in various capacities including dealers, cleaning staff, food and beverage workers, valets, engineers and more.

Workers are seeking higher wages, better retirement benefits and protections against new technology during contract negotiations, which began in September. A strike at the three casinos would affect 3,700 casino workers with all job titles.

The contract negotiations are coinciding with the ongoing strike by more than 25,000 United Auto Workers members — now in its 27th day — against Detroit’s Big Three automakers Ford Motor Company, General Motors and Stellantis, as well as UAW strikes by more than 1,000 Blue Cross Blue Shield staff in Michigan.

“Workers are fed up in an economy that is broken: costs keep going up, but when profits came back to the gaming industry, they didn’t go into workers’ pockets,” said UNITE HERE Local 24 President Nia Winston, in a statement. “Just like auto workers, Blue Cross Blue Shield staff, UPS workers, writers, and hotel workers, Detroit casino workers are considering all options available to make sure one job in a Detroit casino is enough to raise a family on. We expect the casinos to heed our concerns to avoid a strike.”

The DCC press conference will be held at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, at Teamsters Union Hall, 2700 Trumbull St., Detroit,

Other headlines for Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023:

  • The City of Detroit will host a grand opening for its Lennox Recreation Center in the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood at 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19.
  • The College of Creative Studies received a new $1 million dollar endowment for a $50,000 annual scholarship, beginning in the 2024-2025 academic year, from the Gilbert Family Foundation. 
  • Internationally known genealogist Tony Burroughs is hosting a workshop at the Charles H. Wright Museum on Oct. 21 to teach people practical methods to research family history.
  • The Detroit Pistons are in preseason play and will be headed to Canada tomorrow to face off against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Montreal.
  • The Detroit Red Wings open their season on the road Thursday against the New Jersey Devils.

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  • Tia Graham
    Tia Graham is a reporter and Weekend Edition Host for 101.9 WDET. She graduated from Michigan State University where she had the unique privilege of covering former President Barack Obama and his trip to Lansing in 2014.