Detroit Casino Workers Vote 99% “YES” to Authorize a Strike

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 29, 2023
Contact: Tiffany Ten Eyck, 313-515-1807, [email protected]

As they negotiate for higher wages, workers vote overwhelmingly in favor of strike authorization at all three Detroit casinos

Detroit—This evening at 09:40pm, the Detroit Casino Council announced that members from MGM Grand Detroit, Hollywood at Greektown and MotorCity casinos — voted 99% “yes” to authorize a strike, if deemed necessary by the worker negotiating committee. Workers flooded the Teamsters Hall today between 7:00am-9:00pm to cast their ballots with the results revealed shortly after the polls closed and ballots were counted.

After the COVID shutdowns, Detroit casino workers sacrificed raises and shouldered heavier workloads so the industry could recover. In September 2020, the DCC agreed to a 3-year contract extension with minimal wage increases to help their employers get back on their feet. Following the end of COVID restrictions and the legalization of online gaming, industry gaming revenues have now surpassed pre-pandemic levels to a new record high, but Detroit’s casino workers are getting left behind. Workers are hoping to win contract gains that would bring Detroit casino jobs back in line with the standard of good jobs that were promised to hospitality workers when voters approved legalizing casino gaming in 1996 and the City Council later authorized the three casinos.[i]

In 2022, the Detroit casino industry generated $2.27 billion in gaming revenue through in-person and online gaming, the highest ever in the history of the industry.[ii] So far in 2023, reports from January through August show that revenues are even higher than last year, on track for another record-breaking year.[iii]

Last month, MGM Grand Detroit’s parent company, MGM Resorts International, reported an “all-time record” for company-wide net revenues in the second quarter.[iv] In 2022, both MGM Resorts International and Hollywood at Greektown’s parent company, PENN Entertainment, reported higher revenues and profits in the US than pre-pandemic.[v] Since the pandemic, the two companies have spent heavily on stock buybacks to benefit their Wall Street shareholders, with MGM spending over $5.60 billion and PENN spending $750 million so far.[vi]

Workers have been negotiating since early September, with a focus on securing wage increases that could make Detroit’s casino jobs family-sustaining jobs once again. Other issues include strengthening retirement and securing protections for workers impacted by the implementation of new technology. The strike authorization secured in Friday’s vote puts the decision of whether and when to strike in the hands of the Detroit Casino Council (DCC) worker negotiating committee, which is made up of 5 unions that represent most of the workers at the 3 casinos: UNITE HERE Local 24, UAW, Teamsters Local 1038, Operating Engineers Local 324, and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters. The DCC could call for strikes as soon as mid-October when contracts expire.

“Workers are fed up in an economy that is broken: costs keep going up, but when profits came back to the gaming industry, they didn’t go into workers’ pockets. Just like auto workers, Blue Cross Blue Shield staff, UPS workers, writers, and hotel workers, Detroit casino workers are considering all options available to make sure one job in a Detroit casino is enough to raise a family on. We expect the casinos to heed our concerns to avoid a strike.” Nia Winston, UNITE HERE Local 24 President

“Detroit’s casino workers of the Detroit Casino Council voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike today because we’re the people who worked with the companies through COVID and put in the time, energy, hard work. The casino companies are making more than their fair share. But we’re not making ours. The message our members are sending to these companies is that the casino workers at MGM Grand, MotorCity and Hollywood at Greektown are ready to stand together and fight for what we deserve. I’m proud of my coworkers for taking this step to take care of their families and enjoy their lives.” Terri Sykes, UAW Local 7777 President, MotorCity Casino table games

Members of the worker negotiating committee and union officials are available for interviews. Please contact to coordinate.


The Detroit Casino Council (DCC) is UNITE HERE Local 24, the UAW, Teamsters Local 1038, Operating Engineers Local 324, and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters. These five unions represent most of the workers at the three casinos in Detroit: Hollywood Casino at Greektown, MGM Grand Detroit, and MotorCity Casino. Our members work in food and beverage, housekeeping, retail outlets, slots and table games, engineering and more. The DCC partner unions are part of International Unions that have experience representing gaming workers and winning great contracts throughout the United States, including in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.



[i] In the May 24, 1998 Detroit Free Press, Greektown casino spokesperson Roger Martin wrote: “To suggest that casino gaming somehow harms low-income people and the underemployed is false. It ignores that Detroit’s casinos will create 11,000 high-paying permanent jobs with full benefits and 12,000 high-paying construction jobs.” Roger Martin, Tell the Truth about Casinos, Detroit Free Press, May 24, 1998.
[ii] Michigan Gaming Control Board: Revenues and Wagering Tax Information, (last access: September 25, 2023).
[iii] From January to August 2023, revenues reached $1.57 billion. For the same months in 2022, revenue was $1.47 billion. Michigan Gaming Control Board: Revenues and Wagering Tax Information, (last access: September 25, 2023).
[iv] MGM, MG Resorts International Reports Second Quarter 2023 Financial and Operating Results, Press Release, August 2, 2023,
[v] MGM’s revenue was $9.38 billion in 2019. In 2022, the company’s reported revenue was $12.21 billion. MGM’s profit was $2.61 billion in 2019 and had increased to $4.44 billion in 2022. For MGM, these amounts for revenue and profit are the sum of the LV and Regional Segments. PENN’s revenue increased from $5.3 billion in 2019 to $6.4 billion in 2022. The company’s profit (Adjusted EBITDAR) grew from $1.61 billion in 2019 to $1.79 billion in 2022. MGM uses the measure Adjusted Property EBITDAR as “the primary profit measure for our reportable segments.” (MGM, 10-K for 2022, p. 38 and 10-K for 2021, p. 46). PENN uses the measure Adjusted EBITDAR “as its measure of segment profit or loss.” (PENN, 10-K for 2022, p. 109 and 10-K for 2021, p. 108) Sources: MGM, 10-K for 2022,, p. 36 and p. 39. MGM, 10-K for 2021,, p. 43 and p. 46. PENN, 10-K for 2021,, p. 35. PENN, 10-K for 2022,, p. 38.
[vi] In 2021, MGM reported for the full year $1.75 billion of stock buybacks. For 2022, the company reported $2.78 billion for repurchased stock. For 2023, MGM reported so far $1.10 billion of stock buybacks. PENN National completed stock buybacks of $750 million in Q2 2023. In December 2022, PENN was approved for another $750 million in stock buybacks. PENN, 10-Q for 2Q 2023,, p. 30. MGM, 10-K for 2022,, p. 60. MGM, 10-Q for 2Q 2023,, p. 4.