The Service Trades Council Union has announced a ‘Rally for a Raise’ demonstration in response to Walt Disney World’s refusal to budge on their slow and incremental wage increases. The rally is set to take place today, Thursday, March 16, near the parking lot for Magic Kingdom Cast Members.
The SCTU represents more than 45,000 cast members working across Walt Disney World. Service Trades Council Union leaders cancelled further negotiations with Walt Disney World following their refusal to add “even one cent” to their previous wage proposal and their removal of proposed retroactive pay for many Cast Members. After a brief stalemate, union leaders have planned a “Rally for a Raise”, seeking public support for a fair contract. Demonstrators will meet at 5 p.m. on March 16, along Reams Road near Magic Kingdom Cast Member parking.
Negotiations over the contract, which expired in October but has remained in force during negotiation, focused primarily on wages, healthcare, and retirement. The negotiations began with Disney offering a pay rise of $1 as their “best offer” to Cast Members with plans to raise wages a further $1 per year annually until reaching $20. STCU is asking for $18 per hour now, and a plan to eventually raise this to $20 per hour. Last month, 96% of Cast Members voted to reject Disney’s “best and final offer”.
Cast Members represented by local unions say they need an increase from $15 to $18 per hour immediately, with further plans to raise wages to $20 per hour minimum guaranteed. The unions and Disney made it back to the negotiating table briefly, but Disney has refused to add “even one cent” to their previous proposal, and in fact reduced retroactive pay in their new offer, leading to the unions walking away from the table.
Just last week, the labor unions have begun to poll Cast Members to gauge the impact that low wages have had on their survival. The results of the survey will be used to quantify the difficulties these Disney employees have been facing. Now, union leaders are inviting Cast Members to take a public stand in their fight for higher wages and retroactive pay.