Detroit Casino Workers Balloting for Strike Authorization

Date Posted: September 29, 2023, 02:18h. 

Last Updated: September 29, 2023, 02:18h.

Workers at Detroit’s three casinos are voting Friday whether to authorize strikes when their contracts expire next month.

UAW members picket
UAW members picket at auto plant, pictured above. Casino workers in Detroit are considering whether they will authorize a strike, too. (Image: PBS)

Voting will be completed by 9 p.m. The votes will be counted Friday night.

The unionized employees work at MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino Hotel, and Hollywood Casino at Greektown.

They include those who work on gaming floors, as well as in restaurants, bars, stores, and hotels.

Negotiations between the unions and the casinos began a few weeks ago. The unions in their new contracts are seeking higher wages for members due to rising living costs caused by national inflation.

The bargaining units at the gaming properties are represented by the Detroit Casino Council (DCC). The DCC leadership emphasizes the previous sacrifices made by workers.

Following COVID shutdowns, Detroit casino workers sacrificed raises and shouldered heavier workloads so the industry could recover,” the DCC stated.

“Now, workers are struggling to make ends meet, even as the industry generates all-time record high gaming revenues from in-person and online gaming.”

If an agreement is not reached soon, the DCC may authorize a strike starting in mid-October when the current contracts expire.

The DCC consists of five unions representing workers at the three casinos: Unite Here Local 24, the UAW, Teamsters Local 1038, Operating Engineers Local 324, and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters.

Las Vegas Vote

The Detroit vote comes just days after members of the Las Vegas-based Culinary and Bartenders Union authorized a strike at Vegas’s gaming properties.

That union represents hotel and restaurant workers, bartenders, and other non-gaming staff at the major resorts along the Las Vegas Strip. Their contracts with MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, and Wynn/Encore Resorts expired in June but were extended through September.

Recently, 95% of Culinary Union members voted to authorize a strike at Las Vegas workplaces if negotiations fail to produce a new contract.

Workers brought every single one of these companies through the pandemic and into a great recovery, and workers deserve a fair share,” said Ted Pappageorge, secretary-treasurer for the Culinary Union.

“Companies are doing extremely well, and we are demanding that workers aren’t left behind.”

UAW Strike

Friday’s vote by Detroit casino workers also takes place as around 25,000 members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) are on strike at plants in Michigan and other areas.

That number represents approximately 17% of the union’s 146,000 members.

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