A large number of casino workers in Detroit were dressed in union shirts and prepared picket signs on October 12th, as they once again asked the sector to raise their wages and maintain their healthcare benefits. This happened amid the ongoing negotiations between the local worker unions and the three gaming houses in the city that are trying to reach an agreement over the employees’ new contracts, which are set to expire next week.
Union contracts with MGM Grand Detroit, Greektown-based Hollywood casino and MotorCity casino are set to expire late October 16th. Since the two parties have been unable to reach an agreement so far, union members signed up for picketing shifts in case a strike begins.
The president of the UNITE HERE Local 24, Nia Winston, shared that casinos once used to be the best employers in the entire hospitality sector, and worker unions were now willing to make sure that was the case again. On the other hand, each of the three casinos’ officials noted that the operators were willing to reach a fair contract with their workers.
In September, the Detroit Casino Council officially revealed that an overwhelming majority of union members from the three aforementioned casinos had voted in favor of a strike if such actions were necessary at a later stage. For the time being, the Detroit Casino Council has a total of 3,700 members across five unions representing the casinos – UNITE HERE Local 24, the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters, the UAW, Operating Engineers Local 324, and Teamsters Local 1038.
Casino Workers Trying to Keep Healthcare Benefits and Ask for Higher Wages
As CasinoGamesPro reported last month, the union members’ vote came as the union is trying to reach an agreement for higher wages at the three casinos in the city. As mentioned above, casino employees are also seeking to maintain their healthcare benefits.
Union members have also shared some concerns associated with their workloads, considering the fact that casino venues in Detroit are currently operating with 1,500 fewer people than before the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, they are worried about the implementation of new technology at the casinos they work in.
In September 2020, the Detroit Casino Council said it agreed to a three-year extension of the existing contract with minimal wage increases that were supposed to help the employers “get back on their feet”.
Each of the three casino operators in Detroit has claimed that they remain open to keeping a productive and respectful relationship with the Detroit Casino Council for many years as the one they had for many years. The companies assured their workers that they were willing to develop a mutually beneficial agreement that would offer the best working conditions for their employees, on one hand, and would allow operators to keep their businesses viral, on the other hand.