The service trades council made up of six unions that represent Disney World Cast Members announced a new agreement today that union members will vote on next week.
Disney World’s full-time, unionized cast members have been working without a contract since October 1st, 2022.
Today’s proposal would make the minimum wage for Disney World’s current Cast Members $18 per hour by year’s end, and the increased wages will be retroactive to the date of the contract — October 1st.
“We could not be more proud,” union leaders said. “Every one of the affiliates of the service trades council union will be recommending that their Cast Members vote to support this agreement.”
“Our cast members are central to Walt Disney World’s enduring magic, which is why we are pleased to have reached this tentative agreement,” said Jeff Vahle, President of Walt Disney World Resort. “Disney is proud to offer an industry-leading employment package that includes comprehensive benefits and affordable medical coverage, in addition to 100 percent paid tuition for higher education for hourly employees through the Disney Aspire program. With the support of the unions, we anticipate cast members will approve this new agreement.”
The Cast Member unions represent about 43,000 workers. According to Disney, the contract proposal provides for:
- Minimum of $17 an hour for new and existing cast members upon ratification
- Minimum of $18 an hour by year end for current cast
- Annual pay increases every year of the contract
- Full retroactive increased pay of least $2 more an hour, dated back to October 2022 for all current cast members
- Entry level rates for newly hired cast will reach a minimum of $18 an hour by 2024
Mel Paradiso, a 3rd shift custodial worker at Animal Kingdom, said the $4 per hour raise she will receive in the first year of the contract will be “life-changing” for her family. “We live in a one-bedroom apartment, maybe we will be able to make it two since we have a little one.”
“We got a deal that is just gonna benefit everyone,” Paradiso said.
Nicole, a Cast Member who works as a cook in the EPCOT Festival Kitchen, said the culinary team will be getting raises starting at $4.10 per hour. She said that she will be able to spend more time at home and help her daughters — one of whom is preparing to start medical school.
Union leaders said Disney World Cast Members currently making the minimum starting wage at Disney World will get 36% in wage increases over the life of the contract.
The primary disagreement in months of negotiations leading up to this agreement was over wages. On February 3rd, union members overwhelmingly rejected a contract proposal that Disney had characterized as its “best offer.” That offer set a minimum wage of $16 for many roles, with a raise each year for 5 years to a $20 minimum wage.
The unions and Disney returned to the bargaining table in mid-February, but negotiations were promptly halted when the unions said Disney “refused to add even one cent to its wage proposal.”
Negotiations resumed today and resulted in this proposal, which will be put to a vote of union members on Wednesday, March 29th.
Union voting will be from 7AM to 7PM. Union leaders said they would begin counting the vote at 7PM that evening.
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I am so happy for them and I hope they vote it in!
Richard Hienz says
It’s great to see them making some progress towards and agreement.
Denise F. says
Does anyone know if the non-union cast members will also be taken care of? I hope they will get a salary increase too.
For the amount of Money WDW rakes in daily the Cast should be in the $30 per hour bracket. This would promote a better guest experience by employing higher caliber people
I love cast members though have in recent years encountered some bad ones, and the union industry is a scam. The union gets more money than it earns negotiating on behalf of members. It’s also a mistake to expect to support a family or upscale lifestyle working as a cast member. You may be talented and may work hard but are likely easily replaced with someone as talented and hardworking willing to work for a lower wage just to work in Walt Disney World. That’s the free market. Forcing corporations to increase wages pushes prices up for consumers. How high is high enough?
If a wage is set too low for everybody, the employer must increase it to an amount someone qualified will want. Many park and resort hotel jobs are for young people getting started in the working world or for older people leaving the rat race wanting to work a fresh job in a happy place and earn some extra spending money. These are people happy in those jobs. It’s a shame we can’t let the free market work as it should. If you aren’t happy with your pay or have other problems with your job, make a change for yourself. There are winners and losers in the world, and I’ve been both at different times in my life. I recognized that nobody owed me anything and made a life for myself. Some people are lucky, but it is hard for most everyone.