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Detroit Casino Workers Approve Strike Amid Contract Negotiations

Written By Derek Helling on October 2, 2023
MGM Grand Detroit Gaming Floor Slots

Automobile factory workers in the Motor City may not be the only ones on the picket lines soon. Another Detroit establishment bearing that iconic name might soon become a venue for such demonstrations.

Members of several unions representing workers at Detroit’s three brick-and-mortar casinos have voted to authorize a potential strike if current contract negotiations fail. They join others across the nation on the verge of a work stoppage and have similar demands.

Teamsters, UAW casino workers ratify strike authorization

According to a Saturday press release from Teamsters Local 1038, over 3,500 workers ratified a strike authorization by a 99% margin. That release mentioned broad demands like job protections against automation, retirement benefit assurance, and improved wages.

It’s important to note that the authorization is not a strike notification. The authorization comes with no finite dates to either begin or end a work stoppage at any of Detroit’s three physical casinos.

Rather, the vote allows union leaders to call for a strike should talks with the three Michigan casinos break down. At that point, workers could walk off the job at all three properties. Detroit is home to:

  • Hollywood at Greektown
  • MGM Grand
  • MotorCity

A work stoppage would represent a comprehensive labor issue for the casinos. The unions represent workers in virtually every facet of the casinos’ operations, from gaming to housekeeping. Reuters reports that the current contracts between the casinos and the unions expire later this month.

If a strike does occur, it would represent one of the largest work stoppages in Detroit’s history due to the current auto workers strike that is ongoing. However, Detroit is not the only place where labor issues could soon escalate.

Detroit and Las Vegas have much in common

Last week, unions representing 22 Las Vegas casinos also authorized a potential strike on The Strip. MGM Resorts International is also one of the bargaining parties there, meaning the company now faces significant pressure to reach deals with workers in two locations.

Other than that, operators involved in Las Vegas are Caesars Entertainment and Wynn Resorts. In Detroit, Penn Entertainment operates the Hollywood while MotorCity is locally operated. At this time, none of the Detroit casino operators have commented on the potential strike.

In other places this year, merely the threat of work stoppages has been sufficient to motivate casino operators to meet workers’ demands. Wynn Resorts averted a potential strike at Encore Boston Harbor in June by reaching a new deal with workers there.

Detroit casinos now have the same opportunity to head off a potential strike by making workers happy. Without a new deal, thousands of casino workers could join auto workers in public demonstrations in Detroit soon.

Photo by Carlos Osorio / AP Photo
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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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