Members of the six unions representing Disney World employees have voted no on a contract that Disney had positioned as its best offer.
According to Unite Here Local 362, union members rejected the offer by a 96% margin. Disney World’s current contract with its unionized Cast Members expired October 1st, 2022. The Cast Members are working under a contract extension that will continue even after this week’s “no” vote.
The main point of contention in the contract negotiations has been wages. Disney says its offer would have provided 30,000 Cast Members with a pay increase that amounted to “a nearly 10% average” and would have been retroactive back to Oct. 1st. “We are disappointed that those increases are now delayed,” said Andrea Finger, a Disney spokesperson.
Disney unions represent 45,000 employees — the remaining 15,000 are part-time, and their contract is negotiated separately.
Labor union leaders had asked full-time Cast Members to reject the offer, which would have gradually increased starting wages at Walt Disney World to $20 per hour over the next five years. The unions say their members need bigger raises sooner because of cost-of-living increases in Central Florida. ““Rent and other expenses have skyrocketed, leaving workers in a state of emergency,” the unions said in a prepared statement before the vote.
Disney Union members reject Company offer by a 96% margin!
When we fight, we win!#DisneyWorkersNeedARaise pic.twitter.com/B6hWsFsC36
— UNITE HERE! Local 362 (@UNITEHERE362) February 4, 2023
Researchers from Florida Atlantic University said in December that the average rent in the Orlando area had increased by 8.14% in one year, to an average of $1,995.62. Rent typically increases 3% to 5% per year.
The unions demanded an immediate minimum wage of $18 per hour for all Cast Members they represent. Disney states that 25% of non-tipped Cast Member roles would reach $20 an hour wages within the first year of the contract, and that 46% of those Cast Members would receive more than $1 an hour in the first year.
The Disney proposal would have paid those 30,000 full-time, non-tipped employees at least $5 more than the Florida minimum wage, currently set at $11 per hour. Housekeepers, bus drivers, and culinary cast members would have been paid at least $20 per hour immediate, Finger said.
Service Trades Council Union President Matt Hollis told the Orlando Sentinel that the unions would be asking Disney to resume negotiations. “Disney workers are united in our belief that Disney can do better,” he said.
Stay tuned to DFB for updates on these negotiations.
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Start by getting rid of discriminating between tipped and non tipped. Minimum wage should apply to EVERYONE regardless of job title. For a company that made over $67 Billion dollars in 2021 they should be able to pay their staff a liveable wage.
Good for the wonderful cast members! Keep fighting for what you deserve. Cast members ARE the magic and Disney must do better by them.
Good for them. American wages are an embarrassment, not just at Disney but everywhere.
carol tricarico says
Come on Disney you have loads of money. Stop buying other businesses, media, etc. and oay your castmembers a decent wage. Without them the magic is non existent. Upper management cou look d rake a pay reduction from their outrageous salaries too.
Rohima Miah says
Cast members make the magic and like all workers deserve a living wage. Good for them for standing up and fighting!
I stand with the Cast Members!
Disney, you have the chance to set the precedence. I love Disney dearly and I hope they power through and be the example that everyone else tries to emulate.
They keep raising the cost of everything blaming inflation. CM wages should follow. What they make now is down right embarrassing for the sheer amount of work they do for a multibillion dollar company like Disney.
THOMAS T. says
Disney makes “$ b ‘s” and hasn’t paid it’s stockholders in 3 years!!
They have a boatload of cash .. and pay those people like Chapek and his cronies millions just to leave !! What is Mickey thinking by not giving some of those who work hard enough to sustain a reasonable life?
Basic economics means that as company expenses increase (eg. wages), then the cost of goods and services increase for it’s customers. The current situation occurring throughout the country right now with wages being driven sharply up will do nothing but increase the expenses for everyone. I’m not taking sides on this, but simply explaining the outcome of higher wages. We shouldn’t be surprised if we all end up paying more for Disney products and services.
If Disney can afford those multi-million dollar CEO bonuses, they can afford to up the wages of the people who make those bonuses possible.
Elizabeth A Stewart says
When you see what management makes in a day, it is very discouraging to hourly cast members. Please remember that it our hard work that makes management successful.
I don’t see a problem with giving them raises. They need to live to work, and with Disney raking in profits every single year, I find it really hard to believe they don’t have the money! Happy workers make happy visitors!
The Disney College Program is a great program, however
They are take full advantage of, starting with housing costs over $200 a week for a room. Given what it costs to enter parks, no dining plan and the ltd. availability of DVC, cast members deserve every dollar they are asking for. They represent Disney and are extremely valuable.
With the increase in prices at Disney the company can afford to pay an attractive pay package to its workers. Just keeping up with the pay of the avg jobs in the area won’t give Disney the edge to hire the best people available. If Disney can charge its customers such high prices they can certainly pay the most to hire the best.
Disney pay your wonderful cast members a living wage! They are wonderful and one of the reason customers keep coming back. Pay them what they are worth! You don’t get the ‘best of the best’ paying minimum wage!
Elizabeth Pokoly says
Step up and make the magic for your employees like they make the magic for us. 18 dollars is not a huge ask and 20 for the select group they mention is on with the market trend. We need to stop thinking about where one lives in terms of cost of living because that gap is almost closed. The comment about tip vs non tip employees is interesting not sure how that plays out with taxes.
Barbara Sather says
What is the draw to work at Disney parks if you have to live in your car? Mystified by this. If Disney is to cheap to pay a living wage. The idea that Disney’s best is $1.00 more a hour is outrageous. The Disney corporation is money by bucket load. Unacceptable , the offer they put on the table. If workers stay they had better prepare to walk.