The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Detroit’s Spirited Casino Workers on Strike!

Oct 30, 2023

Despite rain on Thursday, October 19th, striking casino workers were joined by striking Blue Cross Blue Shield and auto workers for a multi-union rally. Starting out at two different casinos, two columns of workers marched through downtown Detroit and joined together at Hart Plaza to shouts of enthusiasm.

For the casino workers, the push of all three casino companies to increase healthcare costs would wipe out any raises the casinos are proposing. As one striking casino worker at Hart Plaza shouted, "It’s not fair. We’re NOT having it!"

Then, eight days later, over 700 striking casino workers flooded the Detroit City Council meeting. Workers from the five casino unions wore matching shirts that said “Detroit Solidarity.” Workers demanded city officials pressure casino bosses to get this thing settled. The City Council voted unanimously to pass a resolution in support of striking workers.

Before this strike, the City of Detroit had been collecting $450,000 a day in wagering taxes. According to city officials, casinos are the city’s third largest source of revenue.

Since 2020, Detroit’s three casinos have cut back the number of workers by 1,500 while the remaining 3,700 workers are being forced to carry a heavier load. Detroit casinos generated a record 2.27 BILLION DOLLARS in revenue in 2022. Since the strike, casinos have been largely empty.

Detroit is still a union town. Since the strike, the tight organization and enthusiasm of Detroit casino workers have kept their fight in front of fellow workers. So far, most Detroiters are staying away from the casinos. The young workers on strike for the first time, alongside more experienced fighters, have been a breath of fresh air.