Detroit Casino Workers Set To Strike Tuesday At High Noon

Written By Drew Ellis on October 16, 2023 - Last Updated on October 24, 2023
Image of clock ticking for story on Detroit casino workers striking Tuesday at noon if no deal reached

Detroit’s unionized casino workers will strike on Tuesday at noon unless a deal is reached by that deadline.

The Detroit Casino Council, which represents five unions of casino workers, announced their intentions on Monday afternoon.

Should workers walk out, this would be the first casino worker strike in the history of the Detroit casinos.


Workers striking over five key issues

Specifically, the Detroit Casino Council represents five unions to negotiate new contracts with the three Detroit casinos – the MGM Grand DetroitMotorCity Casino and Hollywood Casino at Greektown.

The unions represented are:

  • UNITE HERE Local 24
  • UAW
  • Teamsters Local 1038
  • Operating Engineers Local 324
  • Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters

Five core bargaining issues have been at the center of the negotiations. They focus on increased wages, health care, retirement benefits, workload reductions and job security from technology advancements.

Thursday, the DCC held a press conference to address negotiations, stating that they were still “far apart” on securing a new deal.

So far, over 160 hours in full-table negotiations have been held, along with dozens of subcommittee meetings, since the summer.

Wages, jobs decreasing since the pandemic

In 2022, Detroit’s three casinos reports $1.26 billion in revenue through retail slots and table games. They also added $19.1 million in revenue from retail sports betting.

However, total wages paid to workers in the DCC were down $34 million compared to what they were in 2019. And, there were also 1,500 fewer union jobs made available since the pandemic.

“After we helped Detroit’s gaming industry get back on its feet, business is booming, but the people who make the casinos run are still struggling,” said Nia Winston, UNITE HERE Local 24 President, in a statement. “Our goal is to reach a fair deal, but unfortunately, we’re still far apart. If the companies won’t do better, then we are prepared to strike tomorrow.”

On Sept. 29, the collective unions of 3,700 casino workers voted 99% “yes” to authorize the strike if a new deal wasn’t met by 11:59 p.m. Monday night.

Detroit casinos non-committal on operations during strike

The three Detroit casinos have made no official statements on their operations if the union workers go on strike.

And, they have not committed to closing, but having 3,700 collective workers lost has to have an impact.

The union workers represent employees in food and beverage, housekeeping, retail outlets, slots and table games, engineering and more.

Notably, Michigan law also requires many casino employees to be licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Those hired need to complete an occupational license application for submission to the MGCB. The board then conducts a background investigation of each applicant to determine whether the license will be issued. Those investigations can take several weeks depending on the license level.

Specifically, there are three different levels of occupational licenses the MGCB issues:

  • Level 1: These go to casino managers and supervisors. They oversee operations of the casino staff.
  • Level 2: These are for casino staff members like accountants, table game workers, cashiers, security guards, technicians and more.
  • Level 3: These are for housekeepers, non-gaming maintenance staff, bartending and waiter/waitress staff on the casino floors.

Detroit casinos could lose over $3 million daily

Throughout 2023, the Detroit casinos have made $853.7 million in revenue through August in slots and table games.

Bottom line, that is an average of $3.5 million per day.

Further, broken down by casino, here is what each of the three casinos is bringing in daily:

  • MGM Grand Detroit: $1.65 million
  • MotorCity Casino: $1.06 million
  • Hollywood Casino at Greektown: $801,509

And, that revenue has brought in $178.8 million in tax revenue collectively for the state and the city of Detroit. That equates to over $735,000 a day.

PlayMichigan will stay updated on this strike situation as more develops.

Photo by Shutterstock
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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is currently the Lead Writer of He was the former Lead Writer of PlayMichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

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