Over the past week significant progress has been made towards replacing a labor contract that expired on October 16 with a new deal, according to members of the Detroit Casino Council and representatives for Detroit’s three casinos.
The negotiation process between casino workers and gambling venues in Detroit, Michigan began in August and until now neither party has reported any progress of note. Both parties stated that the past week’s negotiations, the first since October 30, have been the most productive since the process began.
City leaders in Detroit have been closely monitoring the latest round of negotiations between the Detroit Casino Council and three of the city’s casinos including Greektown Casino, MotorCity Casino and the MGM Grand Detroit. Considerations for city officials include the region’s intense competition for the gaming dollar and the vast revenue at stake. Not only are the city’s casinos a tourist draw, but they are a major employer in Detroit, and one of the biggest tax contributors. According to the Detroit Free Press, approximately 16% of the total revenue of the City of Detroit is represented by taxes from casino gaming. That’s almost $3.3 million a week, totaling $170 million annually.
After four days of meetings last week, according to a statement from the Detroit Casino Council, important progress has been made. The biggest area of contention during the negotiations has been health care, and the council also said that area has been advanced significantly. The discussions have also led to “tentative agreements” being reached for other provisions that would appear in the new contract between the two parties.
UAW Local 7777 has previously voted to authorize a strike if an agreement couldn’t be reached by the two sides. A proposal introduced by Detroit’s three gambling venues last week was rejected by casino employees. More than 6,000 members of the UAW Local 7777, UNITE HERE Local 24, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324, and Local 372 labor unions and Teamsters are represented by the Detroit Casino Council.
According to the three gambling venue’s spokesman, Marc Whitfield, the union’s latest proposal is a “positive step” towards resolving all pending issues, which could lead to a new agreement being signed. Whitfield also indicated that health care programs are being studied by the casinos with the help of health insurance carriers.
Talks between the two parties are set to begin again on December 1, and in the interim the casinos will review the latest contract proposal presented by the city’s unions.