Detroit casino workers voted nearly unanimously to authorize a strike if they are unable to agree to a new contract deal by Oct. 16.
In a vote held on Friday, union workers from the MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino and Hollywood Casino at Greektown voted 99% “yes” to authorize the strike.
Workers are the casinos are seeking wage increases, retirement security and job protection from the implementation of technology.
DETROIT CASINO STRIKE UPDATES AS THEY BREAK:
Five unions authorize mid-October strike
Casino workers have been negotiating for a new contract since early September.
A total of five unions are being represented by the Detroit Casino Council in negotiations. The five unions involved are:
- UNITE HERE Local 24
- Teamsters Local 1038
- Operating Engineers Local 324
- Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters
The unions cite that the Detroit casino industry generated $2.27 billion in gaming revenue through retail and online means in 2022, the highest ever in the industry’s history.
“Workers are fed up in an economy that is broken,” said Nia Winston, UNITE HERE Local 24 President, in a press release. “Costs keep going up, but when profits came back to the gaming industry, they didn’t go into workers’ pockets.
“Just like auto workers, Blue Cross Blue Shield staff, UPS workers, writers and hotel workers, Detroit casino workers are considering all options available to make sure one job in a Detroit casino is enough to raise a family on. We expect the casinos to heed our concerns to avoid a strike.”
The unions also site the recent MGM Resorts International report of all-time-record company-wide revenues in Q2 of 2023. Both MGM Resorts and PENN Entertainment, parent company of Hollywood Casino at Greektown, reported higher revenues and profits this year than it had pre-pandemic.
“The strike authorization sends a clear message to the Detroit casino cartel that our members are the ones who created massive profits for these corporations, and it’s time to share the wealth,” said Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien.
“Teamsters and the labor movement are united. Our members will get a contract that rewards their hard work, or we will withhold our labor.”
Detroit retail casinos up slightly in revenue for 2023
The Michigan online casino industry is certainly booming, with 22.3% revenue growth in 2023 through the first eight months of the year. The total revenue for the year sits at $1.24 billion.
However, it is unclear just how much the three Detroit casinos see back from their online partnerships with BetMGM Casino Michigan, FanDuel Casino Michigan and Bartstool (soon to be ESPN Bet/Hollywood Casino Online).
In 2023, the three Detroit casinos are sitting at $853.7 million in revenue for the year from slots and table games. That’s 0.8% higher than it was through the first eight months of 2022 ($847.2 million).
Two of the three casinos, MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino, are seeing revenue decline this year. However, a 14.6% revenue increase for Hollywood Casino at Greektown has boosted the overall Detroit revenue picture in 2023.
“Detroit’s casino workers of the Detroit Casino Council voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike today because we’re the people who worked with the companies through COVID and put in the time, energy, hard work,” said Terri Sykes, UAW Local 7777 President, MotorCity Casino table games, in a release.
“The casino companies are making more than their fair share. But we’re not making ours. The message our members are sending to these companies is that the casino workers at MGM Grand, MotorCity and Hollywood at Greektown are ready to stand together and fight for what we deserve. I’m proud of my coworkers for taking this step to take care of their families and enjoy their lives.”
Different story when Detroit casino revenue is compared to pre-pandemic years
The $853.7 million in 2023 is still 12.4% lower than the three casinos earned through eight months of 2019 ($974.3 million). That was prior to the pandemic and the launch of online casinos in the state.
Attempts by PlayMichigan for comment from the three Detroit casinos haven’t immediately been returned.
We will be staying on this story as it develops and what impact it could have on the state’s gambling industry.