FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—November 6, 2023
Contact: Annemarie Strassel at 312-617-0495 or [email protected]
City Council Pres. Mary Sheffield Joins Casino Unions to Launch “#StrikeCity Donation Drive,” Supporting Strikers at Detroit’s Casinos, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan
Community support grows as workers continue fight for fair contract
DETROIT—Unions representing Detroit’s striking casino workers are launching a new donation program to support workers on strike at MotorCity Casino, MGM Grand Detroit, Hollywood Casino at Greektown and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM). As the weather gets colder and strikes stretch longer, unions and allies are coming together to ensure that strikers have everything they need while on the picket line. City Council President Mary Sheffield joined strikers at the rally today launching the donation drive.
Unions and allies are calling on the public to support strikers by donating warm winter clothes, non-perishable food items, diapers, baby formula, feminine hygiene products, cleaning supplies and other essentials. Drop off locations are located at Hollywood Casino at Greektown/BCBSM (Lafayette between St. Antoine & Beaubien), MGM Grand Detroit (3rd Ave & Bagley), and MotorCity Casino (Spruce & Brooklyn).
“The women and men on strike—braving the cold every day to improve jobs in this city—are Detroit’s heroes,” said Mary Sheffield, President of the Detroit City Council. “These companies underestimate your toughness, but that’s a big mistake. Today, I call on everyone in this community to join me in supporting Detroit’s heroes in their fight for respect and a decent way of life. I am behind you no matter how long it takes.”
“Shame on these companies. They’re sitting on billions of dollars and they hope to starve us out, but in Detroit we do right by each other,” said Allison Grubba, a bartender at MotorCity Casino with UNITE HERE Local 24 and member of the Detroit Casino Council Negotiating Committee. “No matter how long these strikes take, we will take care of each other, whether that’s supporting strikers in Detroit’s casinos or our union family at Blue Cross/Blue Shield.”
On October 17, Detroit casino workers launched a wall-to-wall strike affecting 3,700 casino workers who are members of the five unions comprising the Detroit Casino Council. Detroit’s casino workers sacrificed raises and shouldered heavier workloads so the industry could recover from the pandemic. Now that the industry has rebounded, workers are fighting for a fair contract that protects their health care and includes decent raises, fair workloads and other protections.
On September 13, BCBSM workers represented by the UAW launched a strike affecting 1,000 workers who provide customer service for the healthcare giant. The physical proximity of the Hollywood Casino at Greektown and BCBSM picket lines have led to deeper solidarity between the unions on both sides of the street, which is why the DCC has launched a donation drive to encompass both strikes.
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.