Leaders of the Service Trades Council Union have won negotiations with Disney World to increase the base hourly pay from $15 to $18. With this deal, most Disney workers will find an increment of $5.50 and $8.60 in their hourly pay by the end of the 5-year contract once the deal goes through.
In February, Disney World had offered to increase workers’ hourly wage to $17 – from $15 – but more than 14,000 union members rejected the offer. With the tentative agreement to have it at $18 for now, the trade union said they have won a significant fight for their members; and Jeff Vahle, president of Walt Disney World Resort, agreed.
“Securing an $18 minimum hourly rate this year, increasing the overall economic value of Disney’s original offer, and ensuring full back pay for every worker is the priorities union members were determined to fight for,” said Matt Hollis, head of the coalition of unions. “Today, we won that fight.”
With this increment, about 45,000 service workers at the Disney theme park resort outside Orlando in central Florida will enjoy higher wages. These categories of workers include costumed performers who perform as Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters, bus drivers, culinary workers, lifeguards, theatrical workers, and hotel housekeepers, representing more than half of the 70,000-plus workforce at Disney World.
“Our cast members are central to Walt Disney World’s enduring magic, which is why we are pleased to have reached this tentative agreement,” said Jeff Vahle.
The potential $18 per hour payment in Disney World could create a ripple effect where the tourism and hospitality industry in central Florida are forced to upgrade workers’ payments to $18/hour. The union-Disney negotiation includes affordable medical coverage and 100% paid tuition reimbursement for higher education.
Just recently, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state lawmakers passed a law that empowered the state to appoint the governing board of the district that supervises the 27,000-acre (11,000-hectare) resort operated by Disney World. This district was largely managed by Disney before the legislation.