Once again, Walt Disney World officials and the Cast Member Union UNITE HERE LOCAL 737 are going back to the negotiating table.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Union Leaders rejected the wage increase offered by Disney World. Despite the fact that the new contract would keep Disney’s minimum wage increase vastly ahead of the State of Florida’s current rate, and was above the argued baseline hourly pay, the leaders still cried that it was not satisfactory. Individual members of the union–which number around 45,000 part-time and full-time service industry jobs at the Most Magical Place On Earth had the opportunity to make their own decisions on the offer in a vote. The result of that vote was an astounding NO.
According to the Orlando Sentinel,
“Service Trades Council Union President Matt Hollis said 96% of the 14,264 workers who voted over the past two days rejected Disney’s contract proposal. … Members of the union coalition said Disney’s offer to gradually increase starting pay to $20 an hour over the next five years would give the majority of workers a raise of just $1 per hour year-over-year. That rate does not represent a living wage as costs rise, union leaders argued.”
“This, folks, sends a clear message that Disney workers are united in our belief that Disney can do better, and Disney must do better,” Hollis said. “The leadership of every Service Trades Council affiliate and our bargaining committees will be calling on Disney to return to the bargaining table.”
“And when they get there, we expect to see a real strong offer, economically, that addresses the current record inflation, skyrocketing rent and the cost of living increases that workers are facing today,” he continued.
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Many of the voting members cited current inflation rates and a housing crisis in Orlando as two of the many reasons why they were not satisfied with the offer.
Meanwhile, Disney World representatives were “disappointed” by the decision.
“Our strong offer provides more than 30,000 Cast Members a nearly 10% on average raise immediately, as well as retroactive increased pay in their paychecks, and we are disappointed that those increases are now delayed,” spokeswoman Andrea Finger said, who previously stated that “the majority of non-tipped employees would see a 33%-46% wage increase during the proposed contract.”
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It is unclear at this time when a new deal will be made, as negations that began last August continue to drag on.