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Detroit Casino Unions Reach Tentative Deal to End Strike 


Posted on: November 17, 2023, 11:33h. 

Last updated on: November 17, 2023, 03:00h.

Casino workers in Detroit should be back on the job soon.

Casino workers in Detroit should be leaving the picket lines. Unions announced a deal Friday to end a month-long strike, pending ratification by members. (Image: X)

Unions representing the workers announced a deal Friday with three casino operators that will end the month-long strike in the Motor City.

UNITE HERE Local 24, one of the unions involved in the negotiations announced the deal on social media and called it the “best agreement in [the] history of [the] Detroit Casino industry.”

Around 3,700 unionized casino employees walked off the job on October 17, seeking better wages, benefits, and working conditions. The deal announced Friday will have to be ratified by those workers before it takes effect.

The strike led to service cutbacks and revenue declines at the three affected casinos in the city, MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino Hotel, and Hollywood Casino at Greektown.

New 5-Year Contract

The tentative agreement sets the terms for a new five-year contract between the unions and the casino operators.

Workers were represented by the Detroit Casino Council, which includes UNITE HERE Local 24, UAW Local 7777, Teamsters Local 1038, Operating Engineers Local 324, and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters. The unions represented casino dealers, cleaning staff, restaurant workers, and other employees.

The strike came after workers said they weren’t fairly compensated after agreeing to significant concessions in their previous contract to help the casinos weather the pandemic-related economic downturn. Now that conditions have improved, workers said they deserved their fair share of the companies’ proceeds.

“This historic agreement rewards the sacrifice that casino workers made throughout the pandemic,” said Milledge McCaster, an engineer at Hollywood at Greektown for 14 years and a member of the Operating Engineers Local 324, in a statement. “We set a new standard with major wage increases and ground-breaking wins like first-ever workplace technology language and other job protections that will empower workers to have a say in the future of work in this industry.”

‘Largest Wage Increases Ever’

Under the new contract, workers will see an immediate average pay bump of 18%, which reflects part of a deal the council called “the largest wage increases ever negotiated in the Detroit casino industry’s 23-year history.” The deal also includes “no health care cost increases for employees, workload reductions and other job protections, first-ever technology contract language, retirement increases, and more,” according to the unions.

The unions didn’t release additional details Friday.

The resolution of the casino strike came a few weeks after UAW members agreed to end their strikes in the auto industry and after members of the Hollywood writers and actors’ unions won concessions from the major studios following their own strikes. It also comes a week after unions in Las Vegas reached a deal to avert a strike of workers there.

The strike took a significant bite out of the casinos’ revenues in Detroit. MGM Grand Detroit collected $37.3M last month, down 16.5% from October 2022. MotorCity Casino Hotel earned $25M, down 19.2%, while Hollywood Casino at Greektown brought in $19.4M, a 20.2% drop.


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