Labor Agreement Brings MGM Grand Detroit Workers Largest Raise Ever

Written By J.R. Duren on December 4, 2023
MGM Grand Detroit Casino Exterior In Michigan

The Detroit Casino Council and MGM Grand Detroit have signed a labor agreement that ends a 47-day strike and brings workers their largest raise ever.

Among the key wins for the DCC and its workers was an 18% raise and no increase in healthcare costs.

Alicia Weaver, an MGM Grand employee for nearly 25 years, stood with her son in the picket line as her union fought for a new contract. Weaver said in a DCC press release:

“For me, the fight to protect our healthcare and win better wages was always about something bigger for my family and the next generation. Together…we made history, and I’m proud of what we accomplished by taking a stand together.”

The strike was the first one in the union’s history and came around three years after the last labor agreement.

How the DCC and MGM Grand Detroit battle unfolded

The DCC and Detroit’s three casinos—Motor City, Greektown, and MGM Grand—tried to hammer out a contract this fall. Workers from all three casinos went on strike, but Motor City and Greektown were able to agree to terms after 32 days.

The talks with MGM Grand fell through, a move that PlayUSA columnist Steve Friess noted may be based on the idea that MGM is a more profitable company than the owners of Motor City and Greektown, and therefore should offer DCC members more.

Among the many requests in the DCC’s proposed labor agreement with the MGM Grand was an 18% pay raise in the first year of the contract. Since 2020, workers have received a cost of living raise of 3%.

However, inflation has far outpaced 3% over the past couple of years. The DCC claimed that inflation in Detroit rose 20% since it agreed to the 2020 labor contract.

MGM Grand Detroit tried to avert the strike by offering “the single largest pay increase in the history of MGM Grand Detroit,” according to a Reuters report.

However, the union was asking for more than just a pay raise, and what MGM was offering didn’t cut it.

How the new labor agreement impacts MGM Grand Detroit employees

The new labor agreement between the casino and the DCC is good for five years and affects 1,700 employees. The contract is designed to advance labor terms beyond the belt-tightening required during the pandemic.

Among the key wins for DCC employees include:

  • An average of an 18% raise paid the first year of the contract
  • No changes to or rate increases for the DCC’s healthcare plans
  • Cutting back on housekeeping employees after several years of covering for the 1,500 workers MGM Grand lost after the pandemic
  • A bonus that workers can take now or in the second year of the contract
  • A 401(k) match of up to $1,000 per year
  • Paid Juneteenth holiday

The new contract will impact the five individual unions that make up the DCC:

  1. Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters
  2. Operating Engineers Local 324
  3. Teamsters Local 1038
  4. UAW Local 7777
  5. UNITE HERE Local 24
Photo by Paul Sancya / AP Photo
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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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