Thousands of Detroit casino workers walked off the job this week as part of a labor strike that’s hobbling the state’s land-based casinos. It’s the latest big labor strike to hit the United States and could have a major impact on the bottom line of several large operators.
The strike is the first to hit Detroit’s regulated casinos since they were opened more than a quarter century ago. Casinos hit by the walkout include MGM Grand, MotorCity Casino Hotel and Hollywood Casino at Greektown.
Workers are looking for more pay and better benefits that they think are due partially because of the success of Detroit’s regulated casinos, but also because of sky-high inflation that’s significantly reduced their buying power. According to the Detroit Casino Council, which represents casino workers from five different unions, inflation in the city has increased 20 percent since the last contract was ratified, while pay has increased only three percent.
That gap isn’t particularly surprising given that the unions had been working under a contract that was essentially ratified in 2015. Before the strike they had been working off of a three-year extension of a contract that had expired in 2020. Now that that contract is expired, workers want to see a little more weight to their paychecks.
Nia Winston, President of Unite Here Local 24 commented on the situation to CBS News saying, “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.”
All of the casinos impacted by the strike will remain open, though some operations like food service may be limited.