Aren’t two out of three bad?
The goal of the Detroit casino workers’ strike is in sight, even if the bond isn’t quite broken yet. On Friday, the Detroit Casino Council, which represents UNITE HERE Local 24, UAW, Teamsters Local 1038, Operating Engineers Local 324 and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters, announced it has reached a tentative agreement on new contracts with Detroit’s three casinos has: MGM Grand, Motorcity and Hollywood Casino in Greektown.
However, it’s not all good news. MGM Grand workers rejected the deal and will continue a strike that has been ongoing for over a month. Workers at the other two casinos ended their strike at 9 p.m. Sunday after voting to accept the new five-year contracts.
About 2,100 employees are covered by the new contracts, but there remain about 1,600 MGM employees who want to continue negotiating.
“The historic five-year tentative agreement for 3,700 employees includes the largest wage increases ever negotiated in the 23-year history of the Detroit casino industry (including an immediate salary increase averaging 18%), no increase in employee health care costs, workload reductions, etc Job protections, first-ever technology contract language, pension increases and more,” the statement said The Detroit Casino Council said in a statement on Friday before MGM workers rejected the deal.
Specifically, employees will receive an immediate raise of $3 per hour in the first year and a total of $5 per hour over five years. For the first time, they negotiated an employer 401(k) match and a paid Juneteenth vacation.
“Our strike showed the casino industry and the world what a bunch of crap Detroit casino workers are,” said Tavera McCree, a cashier at the Hollywood Casino in Greektown. “This is a pivotal moment for workers in Detroit and across the country. The profits we make will transform the lives of so many families living paycheck to paycheck. I want to thank everyone who stood firm on the picket line and made this victory possible.”
One of the unions’ big criticisms was that they had made sacrifices and not given raises to help casinos stay afloat during the closures caused by the pandemic and the resulting reduced capacity. Since then, Detroit casinos have thrived and “gambling industry revenues have reached record highs,” according to the Detroit Casino Council. Aside from the list of demands, casino workers want to share in the success of the casinos when they had to endure huge losses to save them.
The unions and MGM have not set a date for further negotiations, but will of course continue to try to work towards an agreement.
Photo credit: Flickr.com / Jessica Branstetter