Walt Disney World Cast Members Approve New Union Contract, Raising Wages To $15 An Hour

The Walt Disney World Resort confirmed today that over 37,000 Cast Members will see their pay increased to $15 an hour by 2021. Here’s how Disney describes the new five-year union agreement:

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. Sept. 6, 2018 – With unanimous support from union leaders, Cast Members at Walt Disney World Resort today overwhelmingly ratified a five-year contract that sets them on the path to $15 an hour starting wage by 2021, representing one of the highest entry-level wages within the service industry in the United States.

This historic collective bargaining agreement will raise starting pay by 50 percent for more than 37,000 Cast Members in a variety of roles represented by the Service Trades Council Union, (STCU) including lifeguards, bus drivers and housekeepers. It also demonstrates Disney’s continued investment in the future of its Cast Members.

“Our 50 percent wage increase will have a real, meaningful impact on our Cast and their families—and is part of our commitment to the thousands of Cast Members who make magic for our guests each and every day,” said George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “Increasing wages for Cast Members represents a significant investment in Central Florida, and will provide a powerful boost to the local economy.”

This industry-leading shift to $15 an hour will be phased in over the next three years beginning in December when starting pay for hourly, non-tipped Cast Members will increase to $11 an hour. In March 2019, starting rates will rise to $12 an hour; $13 an hour in September 2019; $14 an hour in October 2020; and finally, $15 an hour in October 2021.

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Eligible Cast Members will also receive retroactive pay of 50 cents an hour or 3 percent, whichever is greater, dating back to Sept. 24, 2017; they will also receive a one-time, $1,000 bonus. Additionally, the increase will substantially raise the earning potential of current Cast Members whose pay is already above $10 an hour, giving them at least $4.75 an hour more by October 2021.

This collective bargaining agreement runs through October 2022.

This is the second significant contract agreement reached this summer between Disney theme parks and their largest unions. In July, the Disneyland Resort in California announced that it reached agreement with its largest labor unions for a minimum wage rate increase of 40 percent within two years of the agreement. This puts Cast Members represented by Master Services Council at $15 per hour by 2019. The agreement at Disneyland benefits more than 9,700 Cast Members, is one of the most aggressive entry-level wages in the country and demonstrates Disney’s commitment to its valued Cast Members.


  1. It really looks like Disney World workers are the dumbest people on Earth for agreeing to only a 50¢ raise now and deferring $15/hour (i.e., a “living wage”) until 3 years from now. They got snookered by Disney, line, hook, and sinker.

    The whole point of the “Fight for $15” was to get a living wage now, not more than 3 years from now. What a bunch of real [email protected]$$e$!!!

    1. 1. Sorry that you feel this way, but I am sure you are lacking some of the facts on employment at Disney.
      2. The $15 is for new hires, a large amount of cast already making over the proposed minimums for these raises will be getting subsequent raises to note their time in the company.
      3. The well of the hourly cast making $15 or more is quite large as is, and we are all getting raises in proportion to the minimum hike.

      For the record, Disney was the best employer in regard to benefits and pay in Central Florida before this contract, now it is even better. It is telling how people will attack an already by and far progressive company, in regard to policy and employee benefits, over timing not being to their liking.

  2. Guess prices will be going up even more now. This cost, like all other $15 minimum wages, will be passed on to the consumer.

  3. And price increases, across the board, will be put in place to cover the raises. And the usual crowd here will call it a “money grab” and “corporate greed”.

  4. While Disney certainly makes money and needs to ensure that they attract high quality workers that will provide service that exceeds guest expectations, this next comment probably doesn’t apply to this particular topic, but rather just generally to wage disputes. No one seems to understand the purpose of the minimum wage. It is a MINIMUM wage. It is not meant to be a living wage. It is meant for low skill, first time workers…teens that don’t have experience. It is not meant to be your career goal. I worked minimum wage at a few different jobs, including at WDW. But guess what? I did a good job, was dependable & consistent and got raises. When I didn’t make what I wanted, I built up my resume, and that, along with my education got me better jobs…. Though I didn’t want to leave a couple of them, they simply didn’t pay what I wanted. Another thing that it doesn’t seem like anyone considers, is if you’re working a job that others are willing to work for less, you don’t get to decide how much your job is worth…. Unless you bring something to the table above and beyond the others that are willing to work for less. If you are not willing to work that job for that rate, there are countries others who will. You can’t demand a rate that others are willing to undercut. It is what the market pays.

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