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How a casino workers strike could impact Detroit

How a casino workers strike could impact Detroit
How a casino workers strike could impact Detroit 03:10

(CBS DETROIT) - Detroit casino workers have overwhelmingly voted in favor of authorizing a strike. Negotiations are underway between the Detroit Casino Council and the three Detroit casinos, MGM Grand Detroit, Hollywood at Greektown, and Motor City.

On the coattails of the pandemic, the Detroit Casino Council says its workers sacrificed raises and heavier workloads to keep doors open.

"We want a wage that will allow us to take care of our families. We want to be able to maintain our healthcare, you know it's not different than any other person that works every day, and this is the thing we're looking for. Just to maintain, just to be able to live and not live paycheck to paycheck," says Alicia Weaver, who worked as a housekeeper for MGM Grand since they opened in 1999.

"Detroit is in a unique position over the past 8 years where it has been recovering from a major financial crisis, and its recovery has been slow and steady," says Wayne State University economics professor Shooshan Danagoulian.

Danagoulian says a strike goes even further than casino workers and personnel. Surrounding businesses downtown could also see the hit when they, too, are still working their way out of the losses they faced during the pandemic.

"Unfortunately, every time we have an event like COVID or like the strikes, especially if the strikes last a longer time, businesses are taking a hit, and for a city like Detroit, recovering from a hit is much harder than if this were New York or San Francisco," says Danagoulian.

Weaver has worked through the pandemic and economic struggles during her time at MGM Grand. She hopes a deal can be completed soon so she doesn't have to add other adversities to her list.

"I think as an employee that has sacrificed for the company as far as to get through COVID, to allow our doors to stay open, I think it's time for the company to acknowledge us as the worker that helped them on the day to day to help the revenue that comes in the doors every single day," says Weaver.

The deadline for a contract to be agreed upon is Oct. 16, 2023.

In a statement, Dana Cohen of MGM Resorts International says: 

"MGM Resorts has a long history of bargaining successfully with the Detroit Casino Council. We continue to have productive meetings with the union and believe both parties are committed to negotiating a contract that is good for everyone."

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