Detroit Casino Workers Make Appeal to Michigan Legislators

Posted on: November 1, 2023, 06:30h.

Last updated on: November 1, 2023, 09:19h.

A large group of union members at Detroit’s casinos staged a rally at the Michigan Capitol building in Lansing to gain support from legislators. The rally aims to gather backing for the union’s cause.

Casino workers on the steps of the Michigan state capitol
Striking Detroit casino workers on the steps of the Michigan state capitol building, pictured above. They are now in the third week of their strike. (Image: WXYZ)

During their visit to the capitol, the casino workers advocated for the passing of Senate Bill 171, which could potentially raise the minimum wage in select Michigan towns and cities. This bill would grant local officials the authority to set a higher minimum wage within their communities, surpassing the statewide rate.

Currently, Michigan’s statewide minimum wage stands at $10.10 per hour.

“We’re asking Michigan leaders to join us on the picket line because the wages we receive absolutely do not keep up with the rising cost of living,” said Terri Smith, a table games dealer at Hollywood Casino at Greektown and member of UAW Local 777, in a statement from the union.

On October 17, around 3,700 employees from MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino, and Hollywood Casino at Greektown went on strike after their contract expired. Their main demands include higher wages and improved job security.

As of now, there has been no official statement of support for the union from the state’s political leaders.

However, in a recent rally held in Detroit, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist expressed solidarity with the striking workers, including those from the casinos. Gilchrist and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer stand with the workers as they believe that unions have played a vital role in shaping Michigan.

City Council Solidarity

This visit to Lansing marks the second occurrence of striking casino workers visiting government assemblies in recent times.

Last week, the Detroit City Council unanimously passed a resolution showing their support for the workers. Approximately 700 union members were present during the council meeting where the resolution was approved. The resolution states that the city council stands “in solidarity with striking Detroit casino workers.”

The strike has now entered its third week, and statements made by striking workers to Michigan radio station WSJM indicate that the union and management are close to reaching an agreement.

The Detroit Casino Council (DCC), which represents the workers, is composed of members from various unions, including Unite Here Local 24, the UAW, Teamsters Local 1038, Operating Engineers Local 324, and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters. Workers represented by these unions operate in various sectors within the casinos, such as food and beverage, housekeeping, retail, slots and table games, and engineering.

Although the city’s three casinos are still open during the strike, certain services within the gaming properties have been limited.

In response to the strike, Hollywood Casino at Greektown expressed disappointment at the decision of the Detroit Casino Council. They claim to have made generous and progressive settlement offers that would ensure success for both the team members and the business. The casino remains open and is committed to engaging in good-faith negotiations with the Detroit Casino Council to resolve the issues swiftly.

A potential strike may also occur in Las Vegas, as Culinary Union members are currently working without a contract. The union members have authorized a work stoppage, and recent protests on the Las Vegas Strip led to the arrest of 75 union members and officials.


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