March 28, 2023

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Disney World Workers Reject Contract Offer

2 min read

Add escalating labor tensions at Walt Disney World to the list of problems at the world’s largest entertainment company.

Unions that represent about 32,000 full-time workers at Disney World — ride operators, costumed performers, housekeepers, restaurant and shop employees, bus drivers, custodians — said on Friday night that members had voted to reject Disney’s offer for a new five-year contract. Matt Hollis, president of the Service Trades Council Union, a consortium of six unions, said that 96 percent of the votes cast went against Disney.

“Disney can do better and must do better,” Mr. Hollis said at a union event in Orlando, Fla.

In a statement, Disney said that its “strong offer” would provide more than 30,000 employees “a nearly 10 percent on average raise immediately, as well as retroactive increased pay in their paychecks, and we are disappointed that those increases will now be delayed.”

The minimum starting wage for the Disney workers is currently $15. Florida’s state minimum wage is $11, rising to $12 in the fall.

The company’s offer would raise pay for the covered employees by at least $1 an hour per year, taking most workers to at least $20 an hour by 2026. About 13,800 of the workers would get a raise of more than $1 an hour in the first year. Under the proposal, certain workers (housekeepers, bus drivers, certain culinary employees) would reach $20 an hour in the first year. Disney’s offer includes various perks, including an additional 401(k) plan and eight weeks of paid family leave.

The six unions want an immediate $3 an hour raise — lifting the starting minimum to $18 an hour, a level that they say is necessary to address runaway housing costs and other rising living expenses in the Orlando area. The unions want $1 an hour more in every subsequent year. (Last month, some of the same unions won an $18 an hour starting wage for workers at the nearby Orange County Convention Center.)

Disney will…

Brooks Barnes

2023-02-04 14:58:49

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