99% of Detroit casino workers vote to authorize strike
As the powerful United Auto Workers union continues its historic strike against the auto industry, workers at Detroit’s three casinos on Friday overwhelmingly voted to approve a strike of their own.
According to the Detroit Casino Council, workers from the city’s three casinos — MGM Grand Detroit, Hollywood at Greektown, and MotorCity — voted 99% to authorize a strike if deemed necessary by the worker negotiating committee.
Workers cast their ballots at Teamsters Hall from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday. The Detroit Casino Council announced the results at 9:40 p.m.
The workers have been negotiating since early September, demanding living wages, better retirement benefits, and protections for workers impacted by new technology. This is after Detroit casino workers sacrificed raises and took on more work amid the COVID-19 pandemic to help the industry recover, they say.
By all accounts, the industry did. According to UNITE HERE, the Detroit casino industry generated $2.27 billion in gaming revenue in 2022, a record high. And the union says the industry is already on track for another record-breaking year.
“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,” Nia Winston, president of UNITE HERE Local 24 said in a statement. “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.”
The Detroit Casino Council worker negotiating committee is made up members from UNITE HERE Local 24, UAW, Teamsters Local 1038, Operating Engineers Local 324, and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters.
The call for strikes could come as soon as mid-October, when contracts expire.