3,700 Detroit Casino Workers Walk Off The Job, Strike For Higher Wages Due To Rising Cost Of Living

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Oct 20, 2023 - 11:15 AM

It isn't just auto workers that are striking in Detroit. 

Thousands of casino workers walked off the job this week as look to negotiate for higher wages and better working conditions, according to CNBC. The ask was prompted by a higher cost of living, the report says. 

Affected casinos include the MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino, and Hollywood Casino at Greektown. Those properties are owned by MGM Resorts and Penn Entertainment, respectively. 

The report says that 3,700 workers from an array of positions spanning dealers to cleaning staff, are being represented by the Detroit Casino Council. The DCC is "made up of five unions including the United Auto Workers", the report says. 

As a result of the strikes, MotorCity Casino revised its online presence to indicate the closure of high-stakes tables, poker rooms, and valet service, as well as its spa and select dining and drinking establishments. FanDuel told CNBC it would close its FD Sportsbook at MotorCity Casino as a result. 

Hollywood Casino at Greektown said that it intends to continue operations, but told CNBC: “We are disappointed by the decision of the Detroit Casino Council as we have made generous, progressive settlement offers that position our team members and business for sustainable success.”

“Regarding the status of our negotiations, we’ve made six proposals to the union and our current offer includes the single largest pay increase in the history of MGM Grand Detroit. It is a significant proposal,” Matt Buckley, president and COO of MGM’s Midwest Group said in a letter to employees. 

The Detroit Casino Council is arguing that a now-expired 3 year deal workers agreed to during Covid doesn't have good enough wage increases (3%) for the post-Covid inflationary environment. 

The DCC said in a press release: “In contrast, industry gaming revenues have now surpassed pre-pandemic levels to reach a new record high. In 2022, the Detroit casino industry generated $2.27 billion in gaming revenue and is on track for another record-breaking year in 2023. The three Detroit casinos collectively reported $813 million more in total gaming revenues in 2022 than in 2019, but total wages paid to workers represented by the DCC were $34 million less when comparing those same years.”

The DCC says that every day a strike continues, it puts about $738,000 of city and state tax revenue at risk. 

MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle told CNBC last week: "It doesn’t help when UAW in Detroit is asking for 40%. I mean, that’s a top line that’s hard to ignore. That being said, I think what matters here locally is people’s ability, particularly on the front line to exist, to pay rent and to get to the next step in life. And so I think that’s what’s relevant.“