(The Center Square) – About 3,700 Detroit casino workers went on strike at midday Tuesday after failing to reach a new contract.
The strike affects operations at MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino and Hollywood Casino in Greektown as well as workers including concessionaires, cleaning staff, food and beverage workers, valet parking, engineers and more .
Workers represented by the Detroit Casino Council are seeking higher wages and better benefits. DCC said in a statement:
“We sacrificed our raises and our safety during COVID in order to keep the casinos open. We thought we were making a deal: if we tightened our belts when times were tough for business during COVID, then we would share in the prosperity when business returned.
There was no agreement. We must now stand up and reset the relationship between us and business.
The DCC wants to maintain its health care standards, job security, better retirement benefits, reduced workload and “the largest pay increases” in Detroit casino history.
The DCC says workers received a three-year contract extension in September 2020, but since then, Detroit casino workers have only received a 3% raise, but inflation in Detroit has increased by 20%.
In 2022, Detroit’s casino industry generated $2.2 billion in gaming revenue. Detroit’s three casinos collectively reported $813 million more in total gaming revenue in 2022 than in 2019, but total wages paid to DCC-represented workers were $34 million less when comparing those same years, according to the DCC.
“Making the decision to strike is never easy, but it’s high time for the workers who keep Detroit’s casinos running to get their fair share,” said UNITE HERE Local 24 President, Denied Winston, in a press release. “The city’s big three casino operators are earning more than ever and we are prepared to stay on strike until we get what we deserve. »
A CDC report released Monday, claims each day of the strike could put at risk an estimated $738,000 in city and state tax revenues and $3.4 million in revenue from casino operators. For the City of Detroit, this gambling tax is a critical source of revenue used to fund job creation, public safety, economic development and youth development programs. In 2022, the betting tax was the city’s second-largest source of revenue, surpassing even property taxes.
“The company is giving us pennies and they want us to pay more for health care,” UAW Local 7777 President Terri Sykes said in a statement. “As a two-time breast cancer survivor, I am fighting to protect our health care. These businesses are making more than ever, and it’s time they respect us for all the sacrifices we’ve made to keep the doors open during the pandemic.