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UAW ratifies contract with automakers, Detroit casino workers approve deals at two locations

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UAW ratifies contract with automakers, Detroit casino workers approve deals at two locations

Nov 20, 2023 | 2:46 pm ET
By Kyle Davidson
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UAW ratifies contract with automakers, Detroit casino workers approve deals at two locations
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UAW President Shawn Fain (left) arrives at the UAW picket line in Delta Township, Michigan on September 29, 2023. (Photo: Anna Liz Nichols)

As the United Auto Workers (UAW) union votes to ratify contracts with General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, the Detroit Casino Council strike will continue at MGM Grand Casino following an announcement on Sunday. 

The Detroit Casino Council, which is made up of members from UNITE HERE Local 24, UAW Local 7777, Teamsters Local 1038, Operating Engineers Local 324 and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters, voted to ratify a new contract with Hollywood Casino at Greektown and MotorCity Casino, bringing the 34-day strike to and end at both locations on Sunday night. 

However, union members at MGM Grand Casino voted to reject the proposed deal and will continue to strike. 

Thousands of Detroit casino workers strike over pay, benefits

According to a statement from the Detroit Casino Council, the strike is the first casino strike in the city’s history. 

The five-year tentative agreements with Hollywood Casino and MotorCity Casino covers 2,800 employees. It includes a $3 an hour upfront raise for workers, increased to $5 an hour over the life of the contract; no increased costs or plan changes for healthcare; an employer 401(k) match program of up to 1,000 in year two of the contract; a paid Juneteenth holiday; workload reductions and protections for workers impacted by the introduction of new technology. 

“The settlements at Hollywood Casino at Greektown and MotorCity Casino represent 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,” the Detroit Casino Council said in a statement. 

More bargaining dates will be scheduled in the MGM Grand Casino strike.

In a statement obtained by WDIV-TV, Matt Buckley, president and chief operating officer of MGM Resorts Midwest Group, shared disappointment at the rejection of the contract, with the approval of contracts at the other two casinos.

“All employees were voting on the exact same contract, which the [Detroit Casino Council] itself said was ‘a historic investment in Detroit’s future’ and ‘fulfills the gaming industry’s promise to Detroit of high-paying casino jobs with good benefits,’” Buckley said. 

According to the Detroit Casino Council, members at each casino property voted separately on whether to accept the deal. 

Meanwhile, the UAW on Monday announced it had ratified contracts with each of the Detroit Three, with 64% of members voting in favor of the agreements. 

In a statement, the union said the contracts have brought back provisions sacrificed during the Great Recession, including cost of living adjustments, annual bonuses for retirees and the elimination of wage tiers. 

“The members have spoken. After years of cutbacks, months of our Stand Up campaign, and weeks on the picket line, we have turned the tide for the American autoworker,” UAW President Shawn Fain said in the statement.

“The Stand Up Strike was just the beginning. The UAW is back to setting the standard. Now, we take our strike muscle and our fighting spirit to the rest of the industries we represent, and to millions of non-union workers ready to Stand Up and fight for a better way of life,” Fain said.

The union highlighted a number of contract inclusions, including worker raises ranging from 33% to 160%, faster progression to the top pay rate at all three companies, commitments from all three companies bringing thousands of electric vehicle and battery plant jobs under the union’s national agreements, and improvements to retirement security for all active and retired members. 

“We are pleased the agreement has been ratified and we are very happy for our more than 57,000 UAW-represented employees and their families,” Ford President and CEO Jim Farley said in a statement.

UAW ratifies contract with automakers, Detroit casino workers approve deals at two locations
Signage at the Ford Motor Co. Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn touts the electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck, which will be produced at the factory. (Andrew Roth | Michigan Advance)

The company is on track to reach full production schedules at the plants affected by the strike in the coming days, Farley said. 

“It’s also imperative that we continue to attack cost and waste throughout our operations. The reality is that this labor agreement added significant cost, and we are going to have to work very hard on productivity and efficiency to become more competitive,” Farley said. 

Gerald Johnson, executive vice president of GM Global Manufacturing and Sustainability, released a video update following the ratification of the contract. 

“We believe this agreement sets the course for the next four to five years for us in manufacturing,” Johnson said. 

“The end result [of bargaining] is an agreement that both rewards our team members, provides great products for our customers and protects the future of our business. That’s been our goal for the entire time,” Johnson said.

As GM products continue to be in high demand, the company will work aggressive schedules, Johnson said. 

“We’re at an inflection point in our EV transition and we have an opportunity to continue leading the industry forward,” Johnson said. 

UAW ratifies contract with automakers, Detroit casino workers approve deals at two locations
Breonna Green, a Warren resident, has been a UAW member for eight years, about five of them at the Stellantis Sterling Heights Assembly Plant. | Ken Coleman

In a statement, Stellantis North America’s Chief Operating Officer Mark Stewart the company will focus on executing its Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan and providing customers with “the high quality products and technologies they want and expect” as the company prepares to roll out eight new electric vehicles in 2024. 

Evergreen Action, an advocacy group focused on climate policy and a transition to clean energy, said the strike has sent an unmistakable message that clean energy jobs must also be good jobs.

In a statement from Evergreen Action Deputy Press Secretary Elizabeth Cavalieri, Evergreen praised the battery deals negotiated by the UAW, saying they would supercharge the transition to a clean energy future. 

“Without them, and without protections for the very workers delivering the goods, this transition would not be possible,” Cavalieri said. 

“UAW’s commitment to fully realizing that climate jobs must be good jobs will go down in the history books as a point of inflection for the American economy. And it is with these wins that we will continue building a livable future that promises climate justice, economic justice, and environmental justice for all,” Cavalieri said.