A Rally of Casino, Auto Workers, and Health Insurers, is Taking Place in Downtown Detroit

Detroit was dubbed “strike city” on October 17 as striking auto workers, health insurers, and casino employees marched through the city’s downtown and held rallies with labor leaders and other movement supporters.

Let’s analyze the reasons for the strike and then look at the Detroit casino workers strike timeline featuring the latest updates.

Worker Unions on Strike in Detroit

One of the rallying cries chanted by the workers as they marched toward Hart Plaza during the rainy weather was “Ho ho, hey hey! Corporate greed has got to go!” Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, UAW Vice President Mike Booth, AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler, Teamsters General Secretary Fred Zuckerman, and other striking workers were among those who spoke at the rally.

Organizers from a coalition of labor unions, including the Unite Here, AFL-CIO, Teamsters, United Auto Workers, Michigan SEIU Michigan, and others, sponsored the event, which was dubbed Detroit’s March for Workers’ Rights and Economic Justice. Marchers began at locations close to Hollywood Casino at Greektown and MGM Grand Detroit.

On October 17, employees left their jobs because contract negotiations reportedly fell on deaf ears. The MGM Grand, MotorCity Casino Hotel, and Hollywood Casino at Greektown, as well as other employees including engineers, dealers, housekeeping personnel, valets, and food and beverage servers, are all on strike.

The workers are represented by the Detroit Casino Council, which is made up of the Operating Engineers Local 324, UAW, Teamsters Local 1038, Unite Here Local 24, and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters. The council has stated that it is seeking advancements in technology protection, retirement security, and higher pay.

Destiny Jackson, a 20-year-old Detroit resident who works in the MGM Grand Detroit restaurant, was one of the striking employees.

Jackson said that his poor income is what drives him to this place now, adding that her hourly wage is around $16.50. Jackson said that she wants a new contract that addresses all of her concerns about being overworked and underpaid.

The Impact of Detroit Workers’ Strike

Matt Buckley, president, and chief operating officer of MGM Resorts Midwest Group, stated in a letter to staff members that the company has submitted six proposals to the union, the most recent of which includes the biggest pay increase in MGM Grand Detroit’s history. He also stated that the company will keep negotiating with the union in order to come to a mutually beneficial agreement.

The three casinos in Detroit have released statements saying that they will go on with their operations and that they are negotiating in good faith to get fair contracts. According to the MGM Grand Detroit website, the resort will be open for business this week and beyond and is working hard to make sure that its visitors won’t be inconvenienced.

However, it was then reported on October 22 that poker rooms were starting to close their doors.

On October 25, it was reported that the Detroit City Council had joined the cause. The next day it was reported that casinos are currently losing around $1.5-2 million per day, operating at around 50% capacity.