Friday, Oct. 17, 2003 | 11:09 a.m.
Casino unions plan strike vote
DETROIT -- The contract covering five unions and 5,900 workers at the city's three casinos expired after negotiators failed to reach an agreement.
The expiration of the 3-year contract at 11:59 p.m. Thursday set the stage for a vote by the membership on whether to strike, barring a last-minute agreement.
Union members were expected to vote today in three shifts, the Detroit Free Press reported.
A representative of the largest union, the United Auto Workers, said negotiations will continue even after the contracts expire.
"We believe we can settle this at the bargaining table and win a contract that is fair to our members and good for the casinos and our community," said Elizabeth Bunn, secretary-treasurer of the UAW, in a statement issued Thursday afternoon. "We're going to continue talking as long as it is productive."
The main issues are pay, health insurance and other benefits, the Detroit Casino Council said. The council is made up of the five unions representing casino employees.
Casino representatives declined comment Thursday but said negotiations were continuing.
The Detroit Casino Council represents dealers, maintenance staff and other employees. About 7,000 people work at the three casinos.
UAW Local 7777 represents about 2,650 dealers, slot technicians and other workers; Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local 24 (the Culinary Union) is the second-largest union with about 2,570 cleaning, maintenance, food and beverage and other workers.
The other unions are Teamsters Local 372, representing valet, warehouse and phone operators; Operating Engineers Local 547, which represents engineers, painters and other trades positions, and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters, which represents carpenters at Greektown Casino.
Lawsuit over dog injuries costs track, casino $500,000
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa -- A Potawatomi County jury has awarded just under $500,000 to an Underwood greyhound kennel, which sued Bluffs Run Greyhound Park and Casino for failing to provide a safe racetrack for greyhounds.
The jury verdict awarded $235,282 to Art and Bev Yates and their Yates Kennel for damages to their greyhounds during the 2000 racing season. The jury also awarded punitive damages of $250,000 to the Yates, who the jury said had been slandered by false statements made by Bluffs Run officials.
In 2000 the track refused to offer a 2001 racing contract to the Yates Kennel, claiming it was because of poor performance. The Yateses argued that the real reason was because they had complained about poor track conditions.
Des Moines attorney Jim Quilty said the jury agreed that the inconsistency in the race track surface led to injuries to greyhounds.