Top Union Leader Throws Support Behind Striking Detroit Casino Workers

AFL-CIO President Issues Warning to Detroit Casino Owners Amid Strike

The ongoing strike at three Detroit casinos has entered its second month, and AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler has issued a stern warning to casino owners. Shuler joined striking workers at MotorCity Casino and emphasized the need for Detroit casinos to prioritize their workers’ livelihoods.

Shuler stated, “Union casino workers kept this industry alive during the pandemic. But despite Detroit casino owners making record profits, they are refusing to take care of their workers. This is unjust, unfair and unethical.”

The Detroit Casino Council (DCC), representing the workers, has revealed that ongoing negotiations are now focused on “core economic issues.” The council expressed frustration over the lack of response from employers to their economic proposal and emphasized the significance of protecting healthcare and securing decent raises for workers.

The DCC also compared their situation to that of Las Vegas, where casino companies recently reached a tentative contract with workers. They urged Detroit’s casinos to give them the respect they deserve.

As negotiations continue, casino companies have offered to reduce health care premiums and increase wages during the contract’s first year, while the unions are seeking to keep health care premiums at zero and raise wages by a higher amount.

The strike, which began on October 17, has resulted in approximately 3,700 workers walking off their jobs at MotorCity, MGM Grand Detroit, and Hollywood Casino. While the casinos remain open, certain services have been impacted.

The ongoing strike has also had an impact on the casinos’ revenue, with a reported aggregate decline of 18.3% in October. The Michigan Gaming Control Board has released data showing declines in revenue at each of the casinos during October, ranging from 16.5% to 20.2% compared to September data.

The DCC unions consist of various labor groups, including card dealers, cleaning staff, food and beverage workers, valets, engineers, and others. As negotiations continue, the fate of the striking workers and the casino industry’s operations in Detroit remains uncertain.