The ongoing strike by unionized workers at MGM Grand Detroit has continued after they rejected a proposed five-year labor contract. This decision contrasts with the resolution reached at MotorCity Casino and Hollywood Casino at Greektown, where workers overwhelmingly approved the proposed agreements, effectively ending their 34-day strike.
The Detroit Casino Council, which represents five unions, had brokered a tentative deal on November 17 to cover 3,700 workers across the three casinos. However, the rejection by MGM Grand workers has raised questions about the negotiations, with the council refraining from disclosing specific reasons behind the decision.
One union member and dealer at MGM Grand Detroit, Wendy Abraham, expressed concerns about the proposed 64-month contract, stating that she felt it was excessively long. Additionally, there were reservations about the suggested upfront pay raise of $3 per hour. Another affiliated individual, Catherine Bilek Roberts, believed that the initial year should see a minimum wage increase of $6 to $7 per hour.
As a result of the rejection, workers at MotorCity and Hollywood Casino have returned to work, leaving the MGM Grand workers isolated in their ongoing strike. This labor struggle in Detroit mirrors other ongoing strikes in the area, such as those by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan workers.
The rejection of the proposed contract by MGM Grand workers is particularly notable given MGM Resorts International’s strong financial performance. The company reported net revenues of $4 billion in the third quarter, representing a 16% increase from the previous year.
However, the month-long strike has resulted in temporary closures and disruptions in services at the affected casinos, impacting valet services and amenities. The Michigan Gaming Control Board reported significant revenue losses in October, ranging from $5 million to $7 million for each casino, leading to an 18% drop in overall revenue compared to the previous month.
MGM casino management expressed disappointment at the rejection, with Matt Buckley, President & COO of MGM Resorts Midwest Group, emphasizing that the offer was “historic” and highlighting its potential benefits for employees and their families.
As the strike continues, concerns about its impact on Detroit and Michigan’s economy persist, with projected daily losses of approximately $738,000 in city and state tax revenues and $3.4 million in casino operator revenues.