Detroit Casinos Strike Ends for Hollywood and MotorCity, But Not for MGM

Published date: November 20, 2023, 10:12.

Last update date: November 20, 2023, 11:49.

Workers at two casinos in Detroit are returning to work this week after more than a month on the picket line. However, the strike continues at the city’s third largest casino.

Detroit casino workers picket
Workers at two Detroit casinos agreed to end their strike, but MGM Grand rejected a new contract over the weekend. Approximately 2,100 employees are returning to work at Hollywood Casino and MotorCity Casino in Greektown.

Workers at Hollywood Casino and MotorCity Casino in Greektown voted over the weekend to approve a proposed new five-year contract, while workers at MGM Grand Casino will continue their strike after its members voted to reject the proposed deal.

Under the new five-year contract, workers will receive an immediate pay increase of $3 per hour, rising to $5 per hour over the life of the contract. The result was an average wage increase of 18% for employees, which the union called the largest wage increase in the history of the Detroit casino industry.

The Detroit Casino Council, a coalition of unions representing striking workers, said it would seek to set additional bargaining dates with MGM to continue contract talks.

The strike began on October 17, when 3,700 employees at three properties walked off the job to secure better pay, benefits and job protection. With the approval vote, 2,100 employees at the Hollywood and MotorCity casinos are returning to work as of Sunday evening.

While casinos remained open during the strike, the reduced workforce led to service cuts and revenue declines at properties.

MGM Disappointed, Considering Next Steps

Matt Buckley, president and COO of MGM Grand Midwest Group, lamented the outcome in a letter to employees. About 600 MGM employees voted to approve the contract, according to Buckley.

“This is a very disappointing outcome, especially given the historic nature of our proposal and the fact that it will immediately and positively benefit our MGM Grand employees represented by DCC and their families.” Buckley wrote the following in the letter, a copy of which was shared with him:

Buckley said MGM will remain open as it has since the strike began Oct. 17, and employees who want to cross the picket line are free to return to work. He did not address whether either side had specific plans to return to the bargaining table.

“I will continue to keep you informed as we evaluate our options for next steps,” he wrote.

New Contract Includes Better Pay and Benefits

In addition to salary increases, employees also received additional privileges from casino companies. Employees will see no increase in their health care costs and will find their workloads are lighter in the future.

The new contract also includes new job protections and language regarding technology changes. First-time employees will be eligible for up to $1,000 in 401k employer matching contributions starting in their second year of work. The new agreement also includes Juneteenth as a paid holiday.

“The settlements at Hollywood Casino and MotorCity Casino in Greektown represent another victory for union workers across the country fighting for economic justice in a historic wave of strikes that resulted in major gains for American workers across many industries.” Detroit Casino Council said in a statement.

The council consists of a coalition of five unions representing franchisees, cleaning staff, restaurant workers and other workers: UNITE HERE Local 24, UAW Local 7777, Teamsters Local 1038, Operating Engineers Local 324 and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters.

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