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Disney negotiating with union workers on higher wages today

Photo: Disney Parks Blog
Photo: Disney Parks Blog

Disney employees began negotiations with the Walt Disney Company about wages and other crucial needs Thursday morning.

Five Disney unions began negotiating this week with the Walt Disney Company in an effort to see increases in wages, healthcare costs, parental leave, and retirement. Disney’s previous contract was a historic agreement that committed the company to raise its minimum wage from $10 to $15 between 2018 and 2021. The contract expired last October.

Paul Cox, president of one of the unions, was pleased with the initial negotiation Tuesday in seeing Disney express a commitment to giving employees 8-weeks of paid child bonding, but he thinks the company still needs to do more.

“At the end of the day, let's be honest, like most negotiations, it comes down to the money, and in this case, it's the money that needs to be there for the worker and the cast member straight up the bat to help offset those inflationary impacts that they face," he said. “Not a single one of my co-workers has expressed to me that $1 is acceptable to them, and would help them regain this standard of living that they had in 2019 for example.”

Union leaders are hoping Disney will retroactively adjust the first dollar increase it made in its first year of the commitment to a $2 increase to account for the high rate of inflation.

In a statement released to WMFE, Disney spokesperson Andrea Finger explained the company's offer.

"We have presented a strong and meaningful offer that far outpaces Florida minimum wage by at least $5 an hour and immediately takes starting wages for certain roles including bus drivers, housekeepers, and culinary up to a minimum of $20 an hour while providing a path to $20 for all other full-time, non-tipped STCU roles during the contract term," she said. "Our proposal also provides paid child-bonding time for eligible Cast Members. In addition to this, we also offer our Disney Aspire program that pays 100% of tuition upfront for eligible hourly employees."

The statement also revealed Disney's offer includes that 25% of non-tipped Service Trades Council Union roles will reach $20 an hour wages in the first year of the contract, among other concessions such as maintaining the current pension and introducing an additional 401K option.

Union negotiations began at 9 a.m.

Corrected: December 1, 2022 at 11:14 PM EST
A version of this story stated that Disney's offer took inflation into account, however, that is not accurate.
Originally from South Florida, Joe Mario came to Orlando to attend the University of Central Florida where he graduated with degrees in Radio & Television Production, Film, and Psychology. He worked several beats and covered multimedia at The Villages Daily Sun but returned to the City Beautiful as a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel where he covered crime, hurricanes, and viral news. Joe Mario has too many interests and not enough time but tries to focus on his love for strange stories in comic books and horror movies. When he's not writing he loves to run in his spare time.
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