Picketing Ends at MGM Grand Detroit After Union Workers Vote on New Contract

Jessica Aletor
By:
Jessica Aletor
06/12/2023/
Industry
Michigan Casino News

Highlights

  • MGM Grand Detroit staff have joined their colleagues from other casinos to vote in support of a new contract by the Detroit Casino Council.
  • The strike had earlier been called off in MotorCity and Hollywood Casino while MGM Grand Detroit union workers rejected the Nov. 19 contract.
  • Bonus option in the second year of work proves to be the only difference between the earlier contract and the most recent one ratified by union workers.

The last piece has finally made it to the puzzle as MGM Grand Detroit workers confirm the end of a 47-day strike action. On Nov. 19, union workers under the auspices of the Detroit Casino Council had earlier voted for an end to picketing in MotorCity Casino and Hollywood Casino at Greektown. However, staff of MGM Grand Detroit voted overwhelmingly against what was termed “the largest wage increases ever negotiated in the Detroit casino industry’s 23-year history.”

On Saturday, December 2, the union workers eventually came to terms with a new deal after a slight amendment of the former contract. MGM Grand Detroit staff are now expected to resume, with the retail casino looking forward to operating at full capacity ahead of the festive season. 

New Deal Features Bonus Upfront for MGM Grand Detroit Workers 

Like the earlier deal, this contract is also expected to run for five years and will cover a total of 1,700 employees. It features what can be deemed the largest wage increase ever for workers at MGM Grand Detroit. Among its many terms is an immediate $3 per hour raise that subsequently increases to $5 an hour during the contract period.

However, it appears that the only significant difference between this new contract and the former agreement with the Detroit Casino Council (DCC) is an option for an upfront bonus in the second year. While it may not seem much on the outside, it seems to be a major turning point for the workers.

Other terms of the deal are as follows:

  • No increase to health care costs for employees.
  • Paid Juneteenth holiday.
  • Reduction in workloads for staff.
  • 401k employer match program up to $1,000 starting from the second year.
  • Healthcare and severance pay for workers laid off due technology advancements.
  • Training for new jobs created by technology advancement.

MGM Chief Pleased with Outcome, Eager to Resume Full Operations 

When the first contract was proposed and union workers from MGM Grand Detroit rejected it, the casino went back to the drawing board. Negotiations continued for about 10 days before a new agreement was drafted. There’s no question that the negotiation committee was resolved to securing the best deal for MGM Grand Detroit staff.

Commenting on the recent ratification, Matt Buckley, President and COO, Midwest Group, MGM Resorts International expressed his eagerness to see the casino resume full operations. 

“We’re glad our DCC-represented employees voted tonight to ratify the 64-month contract and end the strike, allowing us to immediately resume full and normal operations at MGM Grand Detroit,” said Buckley, “We’re excited to welcome our team back and continue providing our guests the entertainment experiences for which MGM Grand Detroit is known.”

Workers Share Excitement with Press After Weeks of Picketing 

MGM Grand Detroit have also expressed their excitement at the arrival of a new deal and the prospect of returning to work after 47 days. In a press release by the DCC on Saturday, the workers shared thoughts and comments on the new development.  

“I am happy to announce that MGM employees ratified their contract tonight. 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,” said Patrick Nichols, a dealer at MGM Grand Detroit and member of UAW Local 7777. 

Other workers who also had families that were staff of the casino highlighted what it meant for them as a family with co-workers. 

“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,” Alicia Weaver, a guest room attendant for 24 years at MGM Grand Detroit and a member of UNITE HERE Local 24, said in the press release. “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.” 

Healthcare had been a talking point among picketing workers. Staff were quick to express satisfaction in the improvement they will now enjoy.  

“Since welcoming my son into the world, securing my family’s health care benefits was the most important thing to me,” said Gabriel Robert Hernandez, a valet at MGM Grand Detroit and member of Teamsters Local 1038. “We sacrificed a lot during the pandemic, but we fought for and ultimately won a contract that secures our health care and provides significantly improved wages.” 

All these workers have now resumed work at the time of this publication.   

Jessica is a news contributor to Gamble Online Michigan. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics but has over three years of experience working in the hospitality and gambling industry. Despite her core finance and investment banking background, she has been a casino feature writer for N1 Interactive Limited and multiple gambling affiliate sites. Her work has been featured on the bet365 blog, casino.zone and Max Force Racing. She spends her time between Michigan and California, staying up-to-date on the latest industry developments