Detroit Today: How the Detroit casino strikes fit into the labor movement

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

Striking workers wave their signs in the air.

Striking workers wave their signs in the air.

Last week, about 2,800 unionized casino workers with MotorCity Casino and Hollywood Casino at Greektown voted to ratify new contracts, ending a 34-day strike.

The five-year contract, which affects 2,100 employees at the two casinos, will include the largest wage increases ever negotiated in the Detroit casino industry’s 23-year history, no health care cost increases for employees, workload reductions, first-ever technology contract language and more.

Casino employees at MGM Grand Detroit rejected the proposed contract and remain on strike, holding out for a better deal.

So what do these new contracts mean for casino workers and how might the recent labor dispute affect unionized workers in Detroit more broadly? Marick Masters, chair of the department of finance at Wayne State University and organized labor expert, joined Detroit Today on Wednesday to discuss.

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Marick Masters is the chair of the Department of Finance at Wayne State University, and an expert on organized labor. He points to the complexity of parties at the negotiating table complicates the labor negotiations between the casinos and labor unions.

“You have a coalition of unions and you also have multiple employers,’ says Masters. ” So really it’s multi-employer bargaining.”

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