Detroit Casino Employees Go On Strike Demanding More Pay

Arsenii Anderson
detroit casino employees go on strike demanding more pay

According to the unions that represent the employees, over 3,700 employees at Detroit’s three casinos walked off the job at noon on October 17 as a result of unsuccessful attempts to agree on new contracts.

The dealers, housekeepers, beverage and food employees, valets, engineers, and other staff members of MotorCity Casino Hotel, MGM Grand Detroit, and Hollywood Casino at Greektown are on strike.

The Detroit Casino Council, which represents the workers and is comprised of the Teamsters Local 1038, Unite Here Local 24, UAW, Operating Engineers Local 324, and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters, has stated that it wants wages that keep pace with retirement security, inflation, technology protections, and other improvements.

Workers from the MGM Grand Detroit left the casino in large numbers on October 17 in the afternoon. They carried signs stating that Detroit casino workers need a raise as they paced the sidewalks near the resort.

The workers were heard chanting “No contract. No peace.” and “If we don’t get it, shut it down”

Delphine Jones, a 68-year-old server/busser at the casino, was one of the protesters. The employees need pay raises, according to Jones, who has been with the casino for 17 years. The workers, she said, have determined that it is time to leave. It’s time for them to take action.

October 16 was the deadline for the contracts between the unions and the casinos. Nia Winston, president of Unite Here Local 24, stated that negotiations went on until 3:30 AM on October 17. She said that 50 minutes before the strike deadline, casino executives returned to the negotiating table.

She said that despite casino executives’ decision to leave and go home and to bed, the workers remained dedicated to negotiations after 27 hours of waiting.

Winston said that workers have been protesting throughout the nation and that apart from safeguarding their health insurance, retirement benefits, and pay, the respect level is the issue that all of the members of the group mention most often. After helping casinos survive the epidemic, they feel that employees have been mistreated and taken advantage of. It’s time to restart connections between businesses and unions now that the workers are rising up.

The three major casino owners in the city, according to Winston, are making more money than ever and workers are ready to continue their strike until they get what they are due.

Jamil Johnson, a 16-year veteran of the MGM Grand Detroit, expressed his sadness about the strike’s need. 52-year-old Johnson said that he felt insulted. Many of his colleagues share that sentiment since they know how much he has given up. Johnson said that many employees may be seen hobbling out of the building after shift changes. It’s a laborious job.

The Detroiter works as a waiter at the casino’s D.PRIME Steakhouse. Johnson estimates that as a tipped worker, he earns roughly $14 per hour. He spoke about the everyday arduous task his housekeeping colleagues perform. A newly employed full-time hotel housekeeper gets around $15.93 per hour at MGM Grand Detroit, $17.70 at MotorCity Casino, and $16.81 at Hollywood Casino at Greektown, according to the Detroit Casino Council.

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