More Than Half of CFTOD’s Workforce Has Yet to Receive Previously Approved $3,000 Stipend Intended to Replace Walt Disney World Annual Pass Benefit

Kyle Silagyi

More Than Half of CFTOD’s Workforce Has Yet to Receive Previously Approved $3,000 Stipend Intended to Replace Walt Disney World Annual Pass Benefit

A recent report from the Orlando Sentinel has revealed that over half of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District’s (CFTOD) workers have yet to receive a previously approved $3,000 benefits stipend, which replaces the district’s previous program that provided employees with Walt Disney World Annual Passes among other perks.

Unionized firefighters are among the workers who still have not received their stipends, with Jon Shirley, president of the CFTOD’s firefighter union, telling the Orlando Sentinel that the delay is due to a “disagreement with the district over the benefit’s value.”

Over Half of CFTOD’s Unionized Workers Have Yet to Receive Stipend

CFTOD logo

Roughly 200 unionized workers have not yet received their stipends, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The new stipend policy was unanimously approved by the CFTOD Board in late September of this year. The previous program had historically given employees and retirees of the CFTOD Walt Disney World Annual Passes, in addition to passes for family and friends and select discounts at Walt Disney World Resort hotels and dining locations. The District, shortly after entering the control of the State of Florida, vowed to eliminate the benefits after receiving a near $500,000 bill from Disney. CFTOD abruptly canceled the perks on August 21, 2023.

The District initially announced that the passes would be replaced with an annual $1,000 stipend before ultimately approving the $3,000 yearly payout to employees. Union officials, according to Orlando Sentinel, “[estimate] the value of the Disney passes and discounts to be at least $5,000,” prompting the current stalemate in stipend dispersal. CFTOD spokesman Alexei Woltoronist said that “under the contract, the district cannot provide additional benefits without renegotiating the contract.”

Shirley told the Orlando Sentinel that the union and CFTOD Board have had “one bargaining session over the stipend,” but nothing came of it.

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Credit: Maria Tama/Getty Images

Word of delayed stipend payments comes after an October report that indicated that over 30 employees have resigned from the CFTOD due to an “uncomfortable,” “stressful,” and “toxic” working environment, according to Jason Garcia for Seeking Rents. The District has lost more than 30 employees with a combined 350 years of experience since Florida Governor Ron DeSantis took control in early 2023.

Check out some of our recent coverage of The Walt Disney Company’s ongoing legal battles with DeSantis and the CFTOD:

What do you think of the latest development surrounding the CFTOD and the annual stipend it agreed to pay its employees? Let us know in the comments.

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