New agreement includes highest wage increases in history of casino industry in Detroit
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2023
MEDIA CONTACT: Annemarie Strassel, [email protected] and 312-617-0495
Detroit, MI – The Detroit Casino Council has reached a tentative agreement for a new five-year contract with MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino and Hollywood Casino at Greektown after 32 days on strike. The unions will continue to strike until the members ratify the proposed settlement.
This settlement is a historic investment in Detroit’s future. This new contract brings together workers and employers in partnership to fulfill the gaming industry’s promise to Detroit of high-paying casino jobs with good benefits. The historic five-year tentative agreement covering 3700 employees includes the largest wage increases ever negotiated in the Detroit casino industry’s 23-year history (including an immediate 18% pay raise on average), no health care cost increases for employees, workload reductions and other job protections, first-ever technology contract language, retirement increases and more.
Additional specifics of the new union collective bargaining agreement will not be disclosed publicly at this time to ensure unionized casinos workers have the opportunity to see full details of their contract first and vote on whether to accept it. A ratification vote by the membership will be scheduled soon with all five unions that comprise the Detroit Casino Council: UNITE HERE Local 24, UAW Local 7777, Teamsters Local 1038, Operating Engineers Local 324, and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters.
“Our strike showed the casino industry and the world just what Detroit’s casino workers are made of,” said Tavera McCree, a Valet Cashier at Hollywood Casino at Greektown and member of Teamsters Local 1038. “This is a defining moment for workers in Detroit and nationwide. The gains we have made will change the lives of so many families who are living paycheck to paycheck. I would like to thank everyone who stood strong on the picket line to make this win possible.”
“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. “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.”
“A contract of this significance makes me feel proud to work in Detroit’s casinos once again,” said Alicia Weaver, a Guest Room Attendant for 24 years at MGM Casino and member of UNITE HERE Local 24. “Cleaning hotel rooms is a really tough job that gets tougher every year, so the fixes we made in this contract to reduce my daily workload mean less strain on my body and more energy for my family when I get home from work. Everyone on both sides worked hard to get this done.”
“We fought to defend our healthcare and win historic wages, and we won,” said Terri Sykes, a Dealer at MotorCity Casino for 24 years and President of UAW Local 7777. “As a two-time breast-cancer survivor, I feel relieved knowing we have protected our healthcare with no increased costs. We stood strong—five unions united—showing it’s possible to win big when workers do brave things and stick together.”
On Oct. 17, unionized casino workers at MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino, and Hollywood Casino at Greektown launched a wall-to-wall strike affecting 3700 casino workers, including dealers, housekeepers and other cleaning staff, food and beverage workers, valets, engineers, and more. Workers were forced on strike to protect their healthcare and improve wages that have not kept up with the cost of living. It is the first casino strike in Detroit history, and the first wall-to-wall casino strike in American history.
The historic agreements come after years of hardship that Detroit casino workers have endured after sacrificing raises and shouldering heavier workloads so the industry could stay open during the pandemic. Since that time, Detroit’s gaming industry revenues have hit record highs. Workers went on strike, demanding large wage increases in the face of high inflation and other job protections.
The proposed settlement represents another win for union workers nationwide fighting for economic justice with a historic wave of strikes that have resulted in big gains for American workers across many industries.
By striking, Detroit Casino Council Unions have moved the industry towards a new standard:
- Winning the largest wage increases ever negotiated in the history of the Detroit casino industry;
- Protecting the healthcare standard that Detroit casino unions have built over two decades with NO increased costs to employees;
- Reducing workloads in housekeeping and other classifications that have resulted from 1500 fewer workers post pandemic;
- Securing first-ever technology protections to guarantee advanced notification when new technology is introduced that impacts jobs, require training for new jobs created by technology, and provide health care and severance pay for workers who are laid off because of new technology.
- Improving the value of the retirement benefit after no increase in 8 years.
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.