Mon, Nov 20, 2023 12:22 PM
By Scott McClallen, The Center Square
After 34 days, strikes have ended at two of three Detroit casinos after union members at Hollywood Casino and MotorCity voted to ratify five-year contracts.
The strike continues at MGM Grand Casino where members rejected a tentative agreement.
The successful ratification triggered the end of the 34-day strike at both properties.
The five-year tentative agreements with Hollywood Casino at Greektown and MotorCity Casino cover 2,100 employees and include the largest wage increases negotiated in the Motor City casino industry’s 23-year history, no health care cost increases for employees, workload reductions and other job protections, technology contract language and more. Upon ratification, workers will receive an immediate $3 an hour raise (average 18% wage increase in year one) and $5 an hour total raises over the contract.
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.
Workers started striking Oct. 17 seeking better pay and benefits after working through the pandemic. In 2022, the Detroit casino industry generated $2.2 billion in gaming revenue. The three Detroit casinos collectively reported $813 million more in total gaming revenues in 2022 than in 2019, but total wages paid to workers represented by the DCC were $34 million less when comparing those same years, the DCC says.
More bargaining dates will be scheduled. Membership at each casino property voted separately about whether to accept the deal.
The strike rides the momentum of the United Auto Workers strike against the Big Three automakers. Similarly, casino workers say they need better wages and benefits after working in person through the pandemic when gaming industry revenues increased.
New contract terms include reducing workloads in housekeeping and other classifications that have resulted from 1500 fewer workers post-pandemic, securing first-ever technology protections to guarantee advanced notification when new technology impacts jobs, requiring training for new jobs created by technology, and providing health care and severance pay for workers laid off because of new technology.
Other new benefits include the first 401k employer match program up to $1,000 in year two and a paid Juneteenth Holiday.