After months of negotiations and 32 days on strike, the Detroit Casino Council has reached a tentative agreement for a new five-year contract with Detroit’s three casinos.
The agreement, which is subject to a vote by union membership before ratification, includes the largest wage increases ever negotiated in the Detroit casino industry’s 23-year history (including an immediate 18% pay raise on average), no health care cost increases for employees, workload reductions and other job protections, first-ever technology contract language, retirement increases and more.
Gwen Mills, secretary treasurer at UNITE HERE, said a new contract was necessary after casino workers sacrificed raises and shouldered heavier workloads so the industry could stay open during the pandemic.
“You know at the beginning of the pandemic there were 1,500 more workers in the casinos than there are today and this tentative agreement sets a pathway to correct that,” she said.
A ratification vote by the membership is expected to take place on Sunday with the five unions that comprise the Detroit Casino Council: UNITE HERE Local 24, UAW Local 7777, Teamsters Local 1038, Operating Engineers Local 324, and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters.
“Our strike showed the casino industry and the world just what Detroit’s casino workers are made of,” said Tavera McCree, a valet cashier at Hollywood Casino at Greektown and member of Teamsters Local 1038, in a news release. “This is a defining moment for workers in Detroit and nationwide. The gains we have made will change the lives of so many families who are living paycheck to paycheck. I would like to thank everyone who stood strong on the picket line to make this win possible.”
The unions will continue to strike until the members ratify the proposed agreement.
WDET reporter Russ McNamara contributed to this report.