Detroit casino strike continues



(The Center Square) – While the United Auto Worker union auto strike might soon end, Detroit’s casino strikes are ongoing.

The three casinos remain open but 3,700 members from five unions have been on strike since Oct. 17 seeking better pay and benefits affecting MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino and Hollywood Casino at Greektown.

In 2020, workers agreed to a three-year contract extension with minimal wage increases to help the industry reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic. Striking members say they need raises to compensate for high inflation in Detroit and that the gaming industry is reaping record benefits but aren’t passing them down to workers.

In 2022, the Detroit casino industry generated $2.27 billion in gaming revenue and is on track for another record-breaking year in 2023.

Pre-strike, Detroit received about $450,000 per day in revenue from on-site gaming at the three Detroit casinos. This fiscal year, on-site gaming will be an estimated $158.5 million and internet gaming an estimated $89.8 million.

Detroit city officials say the city is prepared to manage short-term disruptions in revenue because local government has, for years, worked together to create a resilient financial plan. City officials said they hope that a fair agreement can be reached between the casinos and the casino workers’ unions soon.

The union workers support raising Detroit’s minimum wage, which is banned via Senate Bill 171 and 170, regulating the relationship between local governments, employers and employees.

SB 171 aims to repeal a law that prohibits a local government from requiring an employer to pay an employee a wage higher than the state minimum hourly wage or other fringe benefits, regulate strike activity or regulate an employer’s hours or scheduling of employees.

In September, the Senate Labor Committee passed the bill.

“We’re asking Michigan leaders to join us on the picket line because the wages we receive absolutely do not keep up with the rising cost of living,” Terri Smith, a table games dealer at Hollywood Casino at Greektown and member of United Auto Workers Local 777 said in a statement. “We’re out here fighting for our families and for more good jobs in Michigan.”

Last week, the Detroit City Council unanimously passed a resolution backing unionized casino workers at Detroit casinos.

Lead Writer Drew Ellis for PlayMichigan, an online gambling site, said the company estimates business is down around 50% costing the casinos between $1.5 million and $2.5 million daily, which could mean losing up to $520,000 of daily tax revenue due to the strike.

“The Detroit Casino strike is in its third week with no signal of an end in sight,” Ellis said in a statement. “A total of 3,700 unionized workers that comprise around 75% of the casino workforce are fighting for a new contract with greater pay, health benefits and more. With each passing day, Detroit’s three casinos are losing $1.5-2.5 million in revenue per day and the state and city of Detroit are missing out on hundreds of thousands in tax revenue.”



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