Hundreds of striking casino workers filled the Detroit City Council’s auditorium on Tuesday to push council members to ensure the health and safety of the strikers. The workers, who are part of the Detroit Casino Council representing 3,700 employees, are demanding better wages and benefits since negotiations with the casinos began in September. The workers are seeking improved working conditions.
The workers presented what they called the “Detroit Strikers Bill of Rights,” which would provide protections for strikers during their protest. Some of the rights include having sources of warmth, like heaters and bonfires, that are not confiscated or ticketed as temperatures drop. They also urge keeping vehicles 50 feet away from the public right of way to avoid picketers breathing in exhaust. Another point in the bill is the request to keep barriers away from sidewalks, as they force pedestrians into the street. And the workers are seeking permission for drivers to honk in support of the protest, even though the noise ordinance prohibits shouting, whistling and loud noises.
The proposal is expected to be voted on next Tuesday after being referred to the Internal Operations Standing Committee. Last week, the city council passed a resolution supporting the workers’ right to strike.
During the public comment period, several striking casino workers urged council members to push the resolution forward. They are seeking the council’s support to carry forward the bill. The workers insisted on the dangers they face due to large metal barriers blocking them from moving and hindering public safety. The workers said their lives are at risk when they have to step into the street to move around the barriers. One worker shared how a colleague was hit by a car due to these situations, but fortunately did not sustain serious injuries.
The workers’ initiative has gained momentum, and all the parties involved are taking the matter with great seriousness. The council and unions are in discussion, and the workers hope for a breakthrough soon that can improve their working conditions. The matter remains pending until the proposal is voted on.