Union Workers at Walt Disney World Reject Contract Offer

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Union members who work at Walt Disney World voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday and Wednesday to reject a new contract deal that would have raised their wages by 6-10% over the next two years. Nearly 10,000 of the 38,000 Disney workers represented by the Service Trade Council Union (STCU) cast a vote, with 93% rejecting the contract, according to Orlando Weekly. STCU is a coalition of six unions who represent Disney workers, including Unite Here Locals 362 and 737.

Photo courtesy Unite Here Central Florida; used with permission.

Disney’s contract offer would have given full-time and part-time cast members (except those who receive tips) a raise of 3% or $.50 an hour, whichever was higher, retroactive to September 24, 2017. Cast members would receive another identical raise in September 2018. The offer also included a one-time $200 bonus for full-time cast members and those who receive tips, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Most new Disney workers start at $10 an hour (Florida’s minimum wage is $8.10/hour), and the union is seeking to increase that to $15 an hour. Roughly 23,000 of the cast members represented by the union make less than $12 an hour.

Disney’s offer would have increased the starting wage to $11 an hour over two years. The company estimates that its average hourly wage is $13.34 including overtime and premium pay. In statements to the Orlando Sentinel and to Orlando’s ABC affiliate, Disney agreed that cast members deserve a raise and was disappointed that its “fair and reasonable” offer was rejected.

Earlier this year, Disney also began offering or increased signing bonuses for certain positions, including culinary employees, housekeepers, and bus drivers, the Sentinel had reported at the time. November data from the U.S. Department of Labor puts the Orlando unemployment rate at only 3.2%, below the national average of 4.1%.

With the contract rejected, both parties will return to the bargaining table in February. They’ve been at odds on contract negotiations since the summer, and Disney had already requested a federal mediator to assist.

About the author

Jill Diffendal

Jill has been visiting Walt Disney World since she was two years old. She credits her ongoing Disney love to her family, especially her grandmother, brother, and nieces. You can reach her at [email protected]

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Jim
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Jim

Since the corporate tax rate is going to be reduced from 35% to 21%, Disney should be able to meet these requests and increase the wages for hourly employees. Other large companies including Wachovia and AT &T have already stated that they will do this for their employees based on the new tax cuts. Disney, being the behemoth that it is, should be a leader and an example to corporate America as to how their employees should be valued. Washington just gave them the funds to make this happen. It’s a win win for both parties.

Bill
Guest
Bill

While your comments regarding the vote are technically accurate, they are misleading because Florida is a right to work state. The only people entitled to vote on the contract are the union members (dues payers) and I suspect that the 10,000 figure you cite encompasses almost all of them. While I certainly think that they employees deserve a raise, the union’s bargaining power is limited so I wouldn’t expect Disney to sweeten the pot too much.

Harmon Chandler
Guest
Harmon Chandler

Maybe if they all stayed home for a few days Disney would come around. I don’t think people are going to knock the doors down trying yo get a job that pays an average of $10 hr most of which are probably the minimum wage the article spoke of. I bet ticket prices have risen at a greater rate than the wages have.

tarver mcknight jr
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tarver mcknight jr

Harm when you are starving & the state or gov’t not paying your bills you take what you can. Glad you can LOOK DOWN on $$$.

Someone
Guest
Someone

This isn’t correct. The stcu only represents a portion of cast members. Skilled trades are not in that council

Spencer
Guest
Spencer

It was a $0.50 raise over two years. Meaning $0.25 this year, and another $0.25 next year. Also, this was only for the cast members that have been with the company for 3 or more years, with the newer employees receiving smaller raises in the same time. Disney tries to make it seem like such a nice offer for its employees, but brag about the record setting profits they are raking in. The head of the company made over $40 million for himself last year. There is no need for all the people that are making the magic to live… Read more »

DisneyCM
Guest
DisneyCM

This is a tough one for me…as a Cast Member of almost 18 years I see both sides in this argument. I’m blessed that I worked my tail off all these years and anytime a promotion or an opportunity came up for me to grow I seized the opportunity. I know so many Cast members that have been in the same role for 10, 15, 20 years and have had opportunities to grow and expand beyond what they do but they are content with the same job and as a result have been stuck making little to no money. I… Read more »

Mike
Guest
Mike

Maybe they should quit and get paid less at other hotels and service establishments. Starting at $12 or higher is a joke. Unless you have a degree, you need to work your way up like everyone else in life. Hotels in the area start out at $9.50 an hour. Don’t complain, when there’s hundreds of thousands in the US making much less than you. It’s a slap in the face to them. A Medical Assistant with a 2 year degree ($20,000+ in debt) starts out at $15-16 an hour. By your standards they should start out at $20-22.

Derek
Guest
Derek

Hey just a small correction, Disney’s current proposal keeps the starting wages the same, only current Cast Members would get the raise.

Joe Castmember
Guest
Joe Castmember

The Union is NOT looking to get the starting wages to $15/hr. They are trying to get a progression to some dollar amount near there based on years of service. The starting wage would stay the same. The scale for each position is different with different top out rates. Disney’s current offer is the greater of 3% or 50¢ the first year and then the same the second year. Disney has made very little movement during these negotiations where the Union has made significant changes to their proposal to try and meet a common ground. Disney is not taking this… Read more »