Detroit casino workers weigh going on strike as contract expiration nears

It's not just autoworkers that are interested in striking.

Union members from local casinos spent Friday voting on whether to authorize a strike against the three gambling centers in Detroit. Employees from all three casinos are only weeks away from their own contract expiring.

"A lot of us has been working, and our paycheck is not reflecting the increase in cost of living," said Milledge McCaster. "(We're) looking to maintaining and keep our health insurance. Looking for better wages that’s comparable to the outside world. Just looking for a nice work-balance life and enjoy family."

McCaster works in the engineering department at Hollywood Casino in Greektown and provides for his mother and son.

His story is not the only one. 

"So at this point we’re feeling that we should get at least a decent wage to take care of our families cause at this point you go to store and buy a dozen eggs for $4," said Terri Sykes, the UAW president at the casino. It’s like you walk out the store, spend 90 bucks and have two bags of groceries."

Covid took a lot from the workers after the casinos were forced to limit use and traffic. In 2020, they made $639 million. In 2021, they made $1.29 billion. Both aren't close to the record-year the casinos had in 2019.

But out of the pandemic, the workers are looking to recoup losses they sustained to help float the companies. 

The current agreement ends on Oct. 16.