Workers ratify contracts at 2 of 3 Detroit casinos; MGM Grand strike continues

The new agreements include the largest wage increases ever negotiated in the Detroit casino industry’s 23-year history.

Striking casino workers rally in Detroit on Nov. 14, 2023.

Striking casino workers rally in Detroit on Nov. 14, 2023.

The strike is over for 2,100 workers at two of Detroit’s three casinos after ratifying tentative labor agreements over the weekend with Hollywood Casino at Greektown and MotorCity Casino.

Union members at MGM Grand voted down the contract Sunday, and will continue to strike.

The new deals — which include the largest wage increases in the Detroit casino industry’s 23-year history — were negotiated together but voted on separately.

Once ratified, workers will receive an immediate $3 an hour raise (average 18% wage increase in Year One) and $5 an hour total raises over the life of the contract. Other contract highlights include no health care cost increases for employees, a 401K match program, workload reductions and other job protections, first-ever technology contract language and more.

Unionized casino workers at Detroit’s three casinos launched a wall-to-wall strike affecting 3,700 casino workers on Oct. 17, including dealers, housekeepers and other cleaning staff, food and beverage workers, valets, engineers, and more. It was the first casino strike in Detroit history and the first wall-to-wall casino strike in American history, according to the Detroit Casino Council.

Five unions 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.

Gwen Mills, national secretary treasurer for UNITE HERE, said this labor action is another example that collective bargaining helps people.

“We hoped that the casino workers strike sort of joins the ranks of strikes and groups of workers who have really taken their economic futures into their own hands and gotten more active,” she said.

In a letter to employees, Matt Buckley, President and COO of MGM Resorts Midwest Group called workers failure to ratify the deal “disappointing.”

Recognizing that 600 MGM Grand Casino workers voted to approve the contract, Buckley says: “We will allow any employee who wishes to cross the picket line and return to work to do so.”

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  • Russ McNamara
    Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners. He's been an avid listener of WDET since he moved to metro Detroit in 2002.