The Detroit Casino Council (DCC), a coalition of five labor unions representing casino workers in Detroit made the difficult decision to go on strike in October. The unions—UNITE HERE Local 24, United Auto Workers, Teamsters Local 1038, Operating Engineers Local 324, and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters— represent some 3,700 workers employed in food and beverage, dealing, housekeeping, valet and other fields at the city’s three casinos.
The unions say the three casinos: Hollywood Casino at Greektown, MGM Grand Detroit, and MotorCity Casino, generated $2.27 billion gaming revenue in 2022 and are on track to break revenue records this year.
The coalition is fighting to protect healthcare benefits, win job security and technology language that already exists in other casino markets, and to improve the value of retirement benefits. The also want to reduce the workload of employees, and secure the wage increases to keep up with inflation.
Since the strike began on October 17, union negotiators report the companies have come down from $60 to $40 for healthcare premium costs, but the committee is aiming for costs to remain at zero.
Negotiators say the companies have offered a $1.95 per hour wage increase in the first year of a proposed new contract. The union is holding firm at $3.25 per hour.
The DCC says that during the pandemic, it agreed to a three-year contract extension with three percent annual raises but inflation in Detroit has risen 20 percent since then.
“They are not budging on a fair wage,” said Gwen Mills, secretary-treasurer of Unite Here. “We took almost flat wages through the pandemic and now expect to sharae in the prosperity they’re experiencing.”