Union workers at MGM Resorts International’s Gold Strike Hotel & Casino in Tunica, Miss. are getting pay hikes in a new three-year labor agreement.
The accord was unanimously approved by various labor organizations. Among the Gold Strike staffers receiving raises are 50 members of Local 667 Teamsters who work at the venue as front desk staff, guest services personnel, limo detailers and drivers, phone operators, valets and warehouse workers.
The wages will help with retention and recruitment,” said Veronica Sawyer, Assistant Director of the Teamsters’ Convention, Trade Show and Casino Division, in a statement.
The teamsters landed pay increases ranging from $1.25 to $4.50 per hour. Under the terms of the union’s new agreement with Gold Strike, wages are slated to increase 2% in 2023 and by 3.5% the following year.
In Tight Labor Market, Workers Hold Cards
Regardless of industry, workers hold considerable power in today’s tight labor market and that true in the casino gaming business.
While regional casinos, such as Gold Strike, were heralded for boosting margins in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, operators face a slippery slope of suppressing headcount to keep margins elevated or risk losing customers due to slack service.
“MGM wasn’t able to hire because the wages weren’t competitive,” adds Sawyer.
A recent report by Bank of America analyst Shaun Kelley indicates gaming companies’ staff counts remain well below the highs seen prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our average company has 27% fewer employees at the end of 2021 vs. 2019. So we think margin expansion is less about reduced promo, marketing, or unsustainable cost leverage, and more about pure headcount,” said the analyst in his note.
Still, the combination of a tight labor market, many workers opting not return following COVID-19 and many more leaving the services industry for other opportunities has some casino operators unveiling perks to attract and retain staff. That’s the case at Gold Strike.
“Workers will receive bonuses ranging from $500 to $2,500 based on years of service and bell persons will receive automatic gratuities for handling group luggage as well as for delivering packages to guests’ rooms,” according to the Teamsters.
MGM Is Hiring
MGM, the largest operator on the Las Vegas Strip, is among the gaming companies that is currently hiring and is doing so across the country. The company is looking to fill nearly 1,100 casino, food and beverage and hotel operations roles at the moment, according to its careers website. That’s just a smattering of the roles MGM is attempting to staff.
Including Gold Strike, Mississippi is home to more than 30 commercial and tribal casinos, several of which rank among the state’s largest employers.
MGM also operates Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Miss. Including the Mississippi venues, the company runs eight casino-resorts in the US located outside of Las Vegas.
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