FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—Saturday, December 2, 2023
Contact: Annemarie Strassel, [email protected], (312-617-0495)
DCC Unions Ratify Agreement with MGM Grand Detroit, Ending 47-Day Strike
DETROIT – Union members with the Detroit Casino Council have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new contract with MGM Grand Detroit after 47 days on strike. The unions will suspend the strike effective immediately.
The five-year agreement covering 1700 employees includes the largest wage increases ever for MGM Grand Detroit workers (including an immediate 18% pay raise on average), a bonus, no health care cost increases for employees, workload reductions and other job protections, first-ever technology contract language and more. Upon ratification, workers will receive an immediate $3 an hour raise (average 18% wage increase in Year One) and $5 an hour total raises over the life of the contract.
“Since welcoming my son into the world, securing my family’s health care benefits was the most important thing to me,” said Gabriel Robert Hernandez, a valet at MGM Grand Detroit and member of Teamsters Local 1038. “We sacrificed a lot during the pandemic, but we fought for and ultimately won a contract that secures our health care and provides significantly improved wages.”
“Both my son and I have been on strike together, so for me the fight to protect our healthcare and win better wages was always about something bigger for my family and the next generation,” said Alicia Weaver, a guest room attendant for 24 years at MGM Grand Detroit and member of UNITE HERE Local 24. “Together – with the rest of our MGM family who stood with us on that picket line in the rain and frigid temperatures – we made history, and I’m proud of what we accomplished by taking a stand together.”
“I am happy to announce that MGM employees ratified their contract tonight. I am impressed by how all the unions and members worked together to win an excellent contract. I’m looking forward to going back to work,” said Patrick Nichols, a dealer at MGM Grand Detroit and member of UAW Local 7777.
The settlement with MGM Grand Detroit follows outstanding agreements already reached with Hollywood Casino at Greektown and MotorCity Casino, whose unionized employees ratified new contracts on Nov. 19 after 34 days on strike. Casino workers at all three Detroit casino properties launched a wall-to-wall strike on Oct. 17 to protect their healthcare and improve wages that had not kept up with the cost of living.
By striking, MGM Grand Detroit workers have secured the following gains:
- Winning the largest wage increases ever negotiated in the history of MGM Grand Detroit, including a $3/hr. raise up front (average 18% wage increase in Year One), $5/hr. over the life of the contract
- Protecting the healthcare standard that Detroit casino unions have built over two decades with NO increased costs to employees or plan changes
- 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
- An option for a bonus up front or the 2nd year of the contract
- First-ever 401K match option up to $1000
- Paid Juneteenth Holiday
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.
More than 300 striking Detroit casino workers traveled to Lansing Tuesday to speak with state leaders at Michigan’s State Capitol about the strike and other important legislation impacting all working people in Michigan. Striking workers are appealing to Michigan leaders to join them on the picket line.
A group of Detroit MGM strikers joined 100’s of union casino workers on the Las Vegas strip as they bargained with MGM.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—October 24, 2023
Contact: Annemarie Strassel at 312-617-0495
Detroit City Council Unanimously Passes Resolution Supporting Striking Casino Workers
The resolution expresses solidarity with striking workers, “recognizes that working people deserve respect, adequate workplace protections, and the right to a living wage.”
Casino workers launched a citywide strike one week ago
DETROIT—The Detroit City Council unanimously passed a resolution on Tuesday morning in support of unionized casino workers at the MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino and Hollywood Casino at Greektown. One week ago, workers launched a wall-to-wall strike affecting 3,700 casino employees across a broad range of classifications including dealers, cleaning staff, food and beverage workers, valets, engineers and more.
Hundreds of members of the five unions who are striking together at Detroit’s three casinos packed Detroit City Council’s big auditorium wearing blue union coalition shirts. Workers from all three casinos presented public testimony, calling on members of the City Council to vote in favor of a resolution supporting Detroit casino workers on strike for a fair contract.
When Detroit’s casinos were first approved in 1998, the casino owners signed agreements with the City of Detroit to ensure good jobs in Detroit’s casino industry. In the time since, Detroit’s casino workers sacrificed raises and shouldered heavier workloads so the industry could recover from the pandemic.
“When the casinos decided to open in Detroit, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for me. They promoted a fabulous package of making a substantial amount of money, low cost of healthcare, and decent contributions to a 401k: it was what I was looking for,” said Kim Syfax, a 21-year table games dealer at Hollywood Casino at Greektown and chairperson of UAW Local 7777, who spoke in support of the resolution. “As of now, the wages we receive absolutely do not keep up with the rising cost of living. That’s why we’re asking you to support us, and to stand with us.”
“I came today to ask City Council to support our strike as we try to maintain our healthcare,” said Shataya Thompson, a valet cashier at MotorCity Casino and member of Teamsters Local 1038, who also spoke in support of the resolution. “I’m a mother and wife, and I am currently pregnant with my third child. I am considered high risk, and this past weekend I spent three days in the hospital. Maintaining my healthcare is the most important thing for me.”
“I stand before you today to ask you to support us and our strike. We all would like to maintain our healthcare and to have a livable wage. There’s no reason for anybody to be working in these casinos and be homeless,” said Alicia Weaver, a 24-year guest room attendant at MGM Grand Detroit and member of UNITE HERE Local 24, testifying before the members of Detroit’s City Council. “Most importantly, we want you to understand the work that we do every day to help create the revenue that comes into the City of Detroit. I want you to make sure that these companies recognize our work, and that it’s time for them to take care of us.”
In September 2020, workers agreed to a three-year contract extension with minimal wage increases to help the industry recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, Detroit casino workers have received only 3% raises, but inflation in Detroit has risen 20%. 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.
After months of negotiations with casino operators failed to produce a fair contract, Detroit Casino workers were forced onto the picket line last week to protect their healthcare and win decent raises, fair workloads, and more job security.
The Detroit Casino Council (DCC) is UNITE HERE Local 24, UAW Local 7777, 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. For more information visit https://www.detroitcasinocouncil.org.