Strike Ends For Two Detroit Casinos, Union Votes ‘No’ At MGM Grand Detroit

Written By Drew Ellis on November 20, 2023
Image of a closed sign next to a lion, which is the mascot for MGM Grand Detroit, the only Detroit casino with workers still on strike as of Nov. 20

The Detroit casino workers’ strike officially ended at two locations on Sunday night. However, the strike will continue at the MGM Grand Detroit.

Union members associated with the Detroit Casino Council voted to ratify the new contract at Hollywood Casino at Greektown and MotorCity Casino.

That ratification brought the union workers back in place as of 9 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 19.

At the MGM Grand Detroit, the union rejected the proposed deal, leaving Detroit’s most profitable casino still in limbo.

What was agreed upon in new labor contract at two Detroit casinos

On Friday, the Detroit Casino Council and Detroit casinos collectively announced the two sides had tentatively agreed to a new 64-month contract.

That announcement was pending the union workers voting to agree on the deal.

That voting took place over the weekend, with two of the three sets of union workers agreeing to the respective deals.

With the voting, the strike ended for MotorCity Casino and Hollywood Casino at Greektown as of 9 p.m. on Sunday. The strike lasted 34 days for those two properties.

By voting yes to the new contract, the 2,100 union workers at these two casinos receive:

  • A $3 per hour raise to start, which grows to a $5 per hour raise over the life of the contract
  • No increased health care costs to employees or plan changes
  • A reduction in workloads for housekeeping and other classifications
  • Technology protections that include required training for new jobs created by technology advancements
  • Severance pay and health care for workers laid off by new technology advancements
  • 401k employer match program up to $1,000 in year two
  • Paid Juneteenth holiday

MGM Grand Detroit employees vote ‘no’

With a ‘no’ vote for the MGM Grand Detroit, union workers employed by the casino will continue to picket outside the venue.

The MGM Grand Detroit has the strike linger on now to a 35th day. More bargaining dates will be scheduled to attempt to get the union on board to return to work.

According to MGM Resorts, over 600 employees of the casino voted “yes” to the new deal. However, that was not enough to ratify it.

The DCC didn’t specify what the union workers who voted “no” were looking for. Back in early November, the union released a video saying they were seeking a $3.25 per hour increase to start the new contract, along with $0 payment to health care.

MGM Grand frustrated by union vote

In a letter sent to MGM Grand Detroit employees on Sunday night that was obtained by PlayMichigan, President & COO of the Midwest Group Matt Buckley addressed the vote.

MGM Grand Detroit Team,

Today the DCC held a vote of its members to ratify the tentative agreement we announced Friday. Unfortunately, our employees voted not to ratify the agreement. This is a very disappointing result, especially considering the historic nature of our offer and the fact that it would immediately and positively benefit our DCC-represented MGM Grand employees and their families.

It’s also disappointing because the other two Detroit casinos voted “yes” on ratification. All employees were voting on the exact same contract, which the DCC itself said was “a historic investment in Detroit’s future” and “fulfills the gaming industry’s promise to Detroit of high-paying casino jobs with good benefits.” Again, it’s disappointing that our DCC-represented employees would vote to reject a contract that the overall majority has approved.

Looking ahead, we will continue to remain open and operational just as we have throughout the strike. More than 600 of our DCC-represented employees voted “yes” on ratification and, as has been the case throughout this strike, we will allow any employee who wishes to cross the picket line and return to work to do so.

As a reminder, our tentative agreement with the DCC includes:

• The largest wage increases ever negotiated in the Detroit casino industry’s 23-year history, including an immediate 18% pay raise on average.

• No health care cost increases for employees

• Workload reductions and other job protections

• First-ever technology contract language, retirement increases and more.

I will continue to keep you posted as we consider our options for next steps.

Thank you for everything you are doing to provide our guests with an incredibly positive experience.

As we saw in October’s revenue report, the three Detroit casinos lost around $25 million in collective revenue for the month. That was due to just 14 days of the strike.

The MGM Grand Detroit saw the biggest losses, over $12 million more than it was averaging for 2023. The strike is now into its 20th day for November for MGM Grand Detroit.

Photo by PlayMichigan
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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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