Economy

published : 2023-10-19

Detroit Casino Workers Strike in Michigan's Latest Labor Union Protest

3,700 Casino Employees Represented by Unions

A photo of Detroit's bustling downtown streets, taken with a Nikon D850

Detroit was engulfed in protest on Tuesday as workers from the city's three casinos took to the streets in a unified strike. This labor dispute, following a recent auto industry walkout, has become one of Michigan's most significant confrontations in recent memory.

The unions involved represent a staggering 3,700 individuals, comprising dealers, cleaning staff, valets, and food service workers. Despite the strike, the casinos, namely MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino, and Hollywood Casino at Greektown, have vowed to remain open, promising to take any necessary legal action to ensure their customers are still able to enjoy entertainment and service.

Concerns voiced by the unions primarily revolve around health insurance coverage and job security. As Terri Sykes, president of United Auto Workers Local 7777 and a dealer at MotorCity Casino passionately stated, 'These companies are profiting more than ever, and it's high time they show us the respect we deserve for the sacrifices we made to keep their doors open during the demanding pandemic period.'

An image capturing a group of united casino workers on strike, demanding fairness and respect, taken with a Canon EOS R5

The three-year contract extension reached in 2020 resulted in a meager 3% wage increase for casino workers, according to the unions. Meanwhile, figures released by the Michigan Gaming Control Board reveal that the three Detroit casinos generated an astonishing $1.27 billion in revenue last year, with slot machines contributing a significant portion at 77%. The city of Detroit itself received a substantial sum of $155 million from the casinos.

In a separate but parallel event, the United Auto Workers (UAW) are entering their fifth week of a partial strike against major automotive manufacturers General Motors, Ford Motor, and Stellantis. Additionally, over a thousand individuals have joined the picket lines at health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

As these labor movements continue to gain momentum, it becomes clear that workers across industries are making their voices heard, demanding fair compensation, improved benefits, and enhanced job security. The struggles faced by Detroit's casino employees and their counterparts in the automotive and healthcare sectors are emblematic of a broader fight for economic justice and worker empowerment.

A snapshot of a casino employee holding a sign advocating for better benefits, taken with a Sony Alpha a7 III

Stay tuned for further developments on these ongoing labor disputes and the impact they may have on the future of employment in Michigan.

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