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Detroit City Council Supports Striking Casino Workers With Resolution

Written By Derek Helling on October 26, 2023
monuments in downtown detroit

Now in its second week, a work stoppage affecting Detroit’s three brick-and-mortar commercial casinos seems unlikely to end soon. While negotiations are ongoing, workers on the picket lines received a morale boost.

Detroit’s city council on Tuesday approved a resolution supporting the strike during its most recent meeting amid a robust crowd of casino workers. Uncertainty remains about how that statement from the city will affect contract negotiations, though.

Detroit casino workers maintain solidarity into second week

About 3,700 workers at Hollywood at Greektown, MGM Grand, and Motorcity casinos in Detroit walked off their jobs on Oct. 17. Since then, they have been picketing the properties as union leaders continue to negotiate with representatives of the three casinos.

Among the demands of the members of the five unions are better compensation and protections from job loss due to automation. When the strike began, a representative for the casinos said they had made six contract proposals to labor leaders.

Currently, it’s unclear if there have been any subsequent proposals. Whether negotiators have made progress on any of the issues is murky right now as well. The city’s official position is clear after Tuesday’s council meeting.

Detroit casino workers attend city council meeting in force

According to Louis Aguilar and Sarah Rahal of The Detroit News, more than 700 members of the unions participating in the current work stoppage attended Tuesday’s Detroit City Council meeting. They weren’t there to merely spectate, either.

Workers asked the council for its support and cheered for speakers on its behalf. In response, council members encouraged them to continue in their demonstrations. Additionally, the council unanimously approved a resolution in support of the strike.

At this time, the three casinos remain open despite the work stoppage. However, available gaming positions have become limited according to Drew Ellis of PlayMichigan. For example, MGM Grand has closed its poker room.

Should negotiations continue to draw out and workers remain unified, the casinos might further reduce their offerings. The city’s resolution puts more pressure on casinos to offer terms that unions will find agreeable. It’s unclear how much pressure, though.

Diminished gaming activity means fewer tax dollars for Detroit even though the city supports the strike. The resolution could mean city leaders view the casinos instead of the unions as the more culpable party if revenue losses persist.

The casinos can end the strike in short order by granting concessions to workers regardless of the city’s stance on the issue. In the strike’s second week, union members appear determined to deny the casinos their labor as long as it takes to win a desirable contract.

Photo by PlayUSA
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including finance, regulation, and technology in the gaming industry. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa and resides in Chicago

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