Little Caesars Arena workers demand action at city hall in Downtown Detroit

Workers want changes across industry no matter what arena they work in

DETROIT – Look around the next time you go to a Detroit Pistons or a Detroit Lions game, and you’ll see workers doing all kinds of jobs, like cleaning crews, security, ushers, and camera crews. Those workers say they’re getting a raw deal from management on several issues.

Members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) gathered signatures recently and dropped them off at the city clerk’s office Tuesday (Feb. 7) morning.

Workers who all work at Little Caesars Arena want some standards across the industry no matter what arena they work in, and they’re taking advantage of a new ordinance to do it.

Members of SEIU Local 1 were crowding into the Detroit City Clerks Office with more than 300 signatures more than twice needed to get the creation of an industry standards board.

Detroit passed an ordinance in 2021 allowing workers in a common industry to petition the creation of a board that would bring three parties together, workers, employers, in this case, Ilitch Holdings, and government, to create industry-wide standards.

Charlesetta Wilson is the organizing coordinator for SEIU.

“We started with arena workers because you have lots of people who either work same employer,” said Wilson. “Their working conditions, rate of pay, scheduling, they vary a lot because they work for different contractors. And sometimes, they may be covered by union contracts, and others are not.”

Even though the workers are in the union, they say any arena workers union or non-union are welcome to join in this fight. As for management, workers are hopeful they’ll come to the table and at least listen.

“The goal for the standard board is to bring those workers to the table to talk to the employers and actually communicate what a baseline standard should be,” Wilson said.

The workers have an ace in the hole in City Council President Mary Sheffield, who pledged that their first-ever arena workers industry standards board would be created without delay.

Local 4 has reached out to Illitch Holdings for a response, and so far, we have not heard back.

About the Authors:

Jason anchors Local 4's 5:30 p.m. newscast. He joined WDIV in January 2015 as a general assignment reporter and has a Journalism degree from Michigan State University.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.