MGM Grand Detroit Workers Agree to Contracts, End City-Wide Labor Strike

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  • MGM Grand workers were the last to agree to the contract
  • The new deals represent the largest increase in pay in MGM Grand history
  • Workers will receive higher pay, protections, labor reductions, training, healthcare coverage, and more

A 47-day strike by casino workers in Detroit, Michigan is over after the group agreed to new contracts with MGM Grand Detroit.

The strike, which involved workers from MGM Grand Detroit, Hollywood Casino at Greektown and MotorCity Casino, began on October 17. At the core of the workers’ issues were poor wages, which had not been increased at the rate of local inflation, in addition to healthcare coverage.

The Detroit Casino Council (DCC) already ratified the agreement with a vote over the weekend. Casino employees will return to their job posts, and local casinos will offer their usual full complement of amenities.

Reaching a compromise 

Workers at Hollywood Casino and MotorCity Casino voted to agree to the new contract after 34 days, but those at MGM Grand had not.

Casino employees last agreed to new contracts in 2020, when they accepted a 3% bump on their annual pay. Since then, local inflation spiked 20%. Retirement packages also had not changed in eight years.

The new contracts bump the pay of roughly 1,700 employees $3 per hour (an 18% average increase). The deal also says that there will be a $5 hourly pay raise by the conclusion of the five-year deal.

Healthcare also won’t cost more than it previously did. Workers under high demand will be given workload reductions, and protections will be added to jobs and technology. 

Employees will also have the option of an upfront or second-year bonus payment. 

The new agreement represents the largest pay increase in MGM Grand Detroit’s 24-year history, according to the DCC. 

“I am happy to announce that MGM employees ratified their contract tonight,” Patrick Nichols, a dealer at MGM Grand Detroit and member of a union group representing casino workers, said over the weekend. “I am impressed by how all the unions and members worked together to win an excellent contract. I’m looking forward to going back to work.” 

The strikes proved to be expensive for casinos. Because the employee count was greatly diminished, local hotspots, in some instances, had to close off high-limit table games, poker rooms, valet services, and bar restaurants. 

FanDuel Sportsbook, which is partnered with MotorCity Casino, also said shortly after strikes began that its retail sportsbook would be closed until a resolution was achieved.

An official from a labor group estimated the strikes would cost $738,000 in tax revenues and #3.4 million in casino revenues per day.

A long battle 

According to the DCC, Detroit casinos generated $2.27 billion in gaming revenue in 2022, significantly more than what they recorded for the previous three years combined.

There was also an expectation that the city would set another annual record with its revenue totals by the end of December, though it remains to be seen what impact the labor strikes had on that. 

Striking employees stood on the streets in a variety of conditions, including rain, sleet, and snow. Many were unsure how long they were going to be out there and were surprised by how long they spent lobbying for change.

“Both my son and I have been on strike together, so for me, the fight to protect our healthcare and win better wages was always about something bigger for my family and the next generation,” said Alicia Weaver, a 24-year employee at MGM Grand Detroit. “Together, with the rest of our MGM family who stood with us on that picket line in the rain and frigid temperatures, we made history, and I’m proud of what we accomplished by taking a stand together.”

Any services not already back to full operation are expected to do so as employees return to their posts.

The DCC whose vote showed overwhelming support for the new deal, consists of five labor unions: Unite Here Local 24, United Auto Workers (UAW), Teamsters Local 1038, Operating Engineers Local 324, and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.