The future of Detroit’s casinos hangs in the balance as staff prepare for a potential strike due to failing contract negotiations. The strike looms as the existing employment contract for workers at MGM, Greektown and Motor City Casino draws closer to its October 16th expiration date.
Nia Winston, the union president representing the workers, fiercely advocated for the casino staff in a recent meeting. Winston accused the three major Detroit casinos of “gambling with our livelihoods.” According to her, the casinos are understaffed, leaving existing workers to fill multiple roles, but are failing to adequately recruit because their wage offerings are uncompetitive.
The charged statement preceded potential strike action by 3,700 employees who, without a new contract secured, are faced with an uncertain future. Signs proclaiming “Don’t gamble with our future” characterized the sentiment of the gathered workers who fear the expiration of their current contract.
Among them was Shataya Thompson, a cashier and valet at Motor City Casino. A mother of two with a third child on the way, she lamented through tears over the uncertainty engulfing the wellbeing of her family. Thompson noted maintaining health care as her primary concern during this crisis, a vital lifeline in the grip of the recent pandemic.
The Detroit Casino Council revealed that despite the pandemic, Detroit’s casinos have generated record profits of $2.2 billion, a stark increase compared to pre-shutdown figures. The union members, however, lamented the absence of a corresponding increase in their pay despite these profits.
The casinos hit back, expressing their dedication to finding a solution with the union. The VP of Public Affairs of Greektown’s Parent Company stated the casino’s commitment to “working constructively to develop a mutually beneficial agreement.” MGM reiterated these sentiments by voicing their continued negotiations with the union to reach a fair agreement.
As the expiry of the current contract edges closer, all eyes are on Detroit’s casinos, the union, and its workers, to see what the future holds.