A potential labor dispute is brewing in Detroit as casino employees contemplate a forthcoming strike should their contract, which is slated for expiration on October 16, not be renewed. The strike will involve workers from all three major casinos within the city.
An agreement reached before Monday night could avert the mass walkout. The employees, however, argue that striking may be their last resort to secure a fair deal.
One such employee, Shataya Thompson, who has served as a valet cashier at Motor City Casino for 14 years is championing for the maintenance of current healthcare benefits amidst negotiations. The significance of these benefits was underscored when Thompson had to rely on them during her son’s 203-day stay in the NICU.
“I think it’s unbelievable that they might take away my healthcare benefits or demand that I pay more towards them,” says Thompson.
Thompson, along with approximately 3,700 other casino workers, is represented by the Detroit Casino Council, which is comprised of five unions. If agreement is not reached by midnight on Monday, these employees will vacate their positions at MGM Grand Detroit, Hollywood at Greek Town, and Motor City Casino.
Another employee, Terri Sykes, shares Thompson’s concerns. As a dealer at Motor City Casino, she feels negotiations have remained static and demands like fair wages and an increased contribution towards their 401ks have fallen on deaf ears.
Commenting on the standstill, Sykes said, “The companies want to continue to pay us the minimum wage. Honestly, we just want to share in some of the wealth that we helped build…we stood by them during COVID and now we need them to reciprocate.”
When questioned about the looming strike, a spokesperson from Motor City Casino asserted the company’s commitment to ongoing discussions with union leaders and members. However, it was noted that no feedback had been received from MGM Grand Detroit, Hollywood at Greek Town, until the time of this report. Union representatives were expected to resume negotiations with the three casinos Monday morning.