Detroit casinos, labor unresolved over health care

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Detroit — Negotiations between Detroit’s three casinos and the Detroit Casino Council, the umbrella organization for four employee unions, remain unresolved over health care.

The two sides met on Wednesday evening but were unable to reach an agreement. They are scheduled to meet again Sunday through Tuesday.

As for what happened during negotiations on Wednesday, Local 24 said the following in a bulletin published online: “The employers jointly made an economic proposal that was rejected by the negotiating committee. Late Wednesday, the union committee gave the employers an economic proposal addressing the needs of the membership.”

According to the MGM Grand, the casino’s proposal included focus on wages, bonuses and health care.

“The parties expect to continue to focus on reaching agreement on an economic package that accommodates the needs of both the DCC and the casinos,” according to the MGM Grand’s website.

Gayle Joseph, a spokeswoman for Rock Gaming, which owns Greektown Casino and several other gaming properties, had said earlier this month in a statement that “we believe the parties are negotiating in good faith and are committed to reaching a fair and balanced agreement.”

Also earlier this month, casino workers voted to support a strike option weeks after their contracts expired in October. However, that vote doesn’t mean workers will strike, but that labor leadership is authorized to take any action needed, including a strike, to produce a favorable resolution on wage, health care and benefit demands.

Strikes were prohibited under the contract between the Detroit Casino Council and the casinos, but contracts between the unions and casinos expired on Oct. 16. The contract is being extended one day at a time until either side terminates that extension.

Two weeks after the contracts expired, on Oct. 30, mediators recommended a “cooling off” period between the parties to prepare for the negotiations ahead, says an MGM Casino guide to the negotiations.

Those negotiations resumed this month.