Casino workers agree to givebacks
Detroit— Workers voted Tuesday to ratify a four-year agreement with MotorCity Casino.
Nearly 70 percent of the MotorCity workers who voted approved the new contract, compared to 74 percent at Greektown on Monday.
Union workers at MGM Grand Detroit will vote Thursday.
"As a trustee of the local and a member of the bargaining team for Teamsters Local 372, I'm elated with the 'yes' vote," valet Mark Williams said in a statement issued Tuesday night by the local, which represents valets, front desk staff, phone operators, warehouse, grounds and general workers. Williams has worked at MotorCity for nine years.
"This was a tough set of contract talks when you factor in the difficulty of our region, but our bargaining team worked hard with our membership and at the negotiation table to get the best possible agreement for our members," said Dave DeLong, president of Teamsters Local 372.
The Detroit Casino Council, a coalition of five unions, including the Teamsters, represents nearly 6,000 union members at Detroit's three gambling houses. While the Detroit Casino Council did not release details, UNITE HERE Local 24 indicated on its website that workers would make monthly payments on health care coverage.
Greektown, which last year emerged from bankruptcy protection, has posted a 1.8 percent revenue loss through the first nine months of the year.
Revenue grew at MotorCity and MGM Grand through the first three quarters this year.
"It seems to me that this is a tough time economically, and workers in many industries, especially unionized workers in nontechnology industries, are being convinced they have to give back gains to save jobs," said Frank Fantini, editor and publisher of Fantini's Gaming & Lodging Reports in Delaware.
All three casinos assumed large debt loads to build new casinos and hotels required by Detroit, said Jake Miklojcik, a Lansing-based gaming consultant who sat on Greektown's board of directors during bankruptcy. The casinos make mediocre profit margins compared with other industries, he said.
"You don't have as much wiggle room because of the debt," he said.
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