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Disney and its unions no closer on contract negotiations

Earns Walt Disney
John Raoux/AP
FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2019 photo, guests watch a show near a statue of Walt Disney and Micky Mouse in front of the Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Six trade unions that represent tens of thousands of Disney workers say negotiations with the company have stalled, as they continue to bargain for higher wages.

Disney cast members overwhelmingly voted to reject the company’s contract proposal that would leave most workers with a dollar an hour raise at the start of February.

According to union representatives, Disney came back to the bargaining table this week with the same salary offer.

Eric Clinton, President of Unite Here Local 362, said what is different about Disney’s latest offer is that it would reduce its retroactive pay.

"So all of the bus drivers, all of culinary, all of housekeeping who were set to get larger amounts of retroactivity, Disney took that away," said Clinton. "And it's not an insignificant amount of people there are 10,000 plus housekeepers, culinary and bus driving cast members at Disney World.”

Paul Cox, president of IATSE Local 631 said the unions represent about 45,000 theme park workers.

“So these 45,000 employees are impacted every single day. They're going from being you know, at the end of last contract we saw housing security and people moving out of living in their cars and being homeless and living in extended stay hotels on 192. And moving into apartments and buying their first houses," said Cox. "Today that has backslid.”

In a statement, Disney said, “We’ve provided the union with options that would set all non-tipped cast members on a path to $20 an hour and provide opportunities for immediate increases, and we look forward to continuing discussions.”

The union is planning public facing actions next week to protest Disney's lack of movement on the issue.

On Tuesday, Universal announced it would offer a $17 dollar an hour starting wage beginning June 4th, 2023 at its Orlando parks. Disney says the new contract proposal would give all cast members at least a $17 dollar an hour wage.

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter and fill-in host at WMFE.
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