Detroit casino employees to vote on strike authorization amid wage negotiations

Just days after tens of thousands of hospitality workers voted to authorize unions to call strikes against hotels and casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, a similar momentum is building in Detroit, Michigan.

The Detroit Casino Council (DCC), the negotiating committee representing workers at Detroit’s three casinos, MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino, and Hollywood at Greektown, announced that union members are scheduled to vote on a potential strike authorization, WXYZ reported.

As more UAW autoworkers join picket lines, another group of workers from the Motor City is taking the first step towards potential strikes. On Friday, the workers who staff the majority of the operations at Detroit’s three casinos—including the slots and table games on the gaming floors as well as restaurants, bars, retail outlets, hotels, cleaning, maintenance, and more—are holding a vote that, if passed, could pave the way for potential strikes at the casinos,” DCC said, as cited in the report.

Negotiations between workers and the casinos have been ongoing since the beginning of September. Workers are advocating for wage increases that align with the rising cost of living.

“Following COVID shutdowns, Detroit casino workers sacrificed raises and shouldered heavier workloads so the industry could recover. Now, workers are struggling to make ends meet, even as the industry generates all-time record high gaming revenues from in-person and online gaming,” DCC said.

If the strike is authorized following Friday’s vote, the DCC’s negotiating committee may initiate strikes starting in mid-October, when the existing contracts are set to expire. DCC is in support of five local unions that represent workers across Detroit’s three casinos.

The United Auto Workers (UAW) union also released its own statement on Thursday, indicating that workers staffing various casino operations, including slots, table games, and restaurants at the three casinos will cast ballots to determine whether to authorize strikes as they engage in negotiations for a new labor contract, Reuters reported.

This announcement aligns with the broader trend of labor unions leveraging the current low unemployment rate to press for improved compensation and working conditions in their negotiations for new labor agreements.

It is worth noting that approximately 18,300 UAW members employed by Detroit’s three automakers are already on strike, resulting in the closure of one assembly plant at each of the three automakers and the shutdown of 38 parts distribution centers at General Motors and Stellantis, the parent company of Chrysler, the report said.

Early this week, hospitality workers belonging to the  Culinary Workers Union in Las Vegas cast their votes in favor of authorizing a potential strike as they push for improved union contracts.

The vote authorizes the Culinary and Bartenders unions to call for a strike at 22 casino resort properties on the Las Vegas Strip between the largest employers MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, and Wynn Resorts. The Culinary Union has not yet set a specific deadline for a strike and continues negotiations with the three casino giants.