Is A Disney World Cast Member Strike Becoming Inevitable?

Cast Member Strike

Tensions have been rising between the Walt Disney Company and the Unions representing Cast Members across the parks, roughly 45,000 Disney employees. And now, with negotiations seemingly at an impasse with the unions overwhelmingly rejecting Disney’s offer and Disney rejecting the union’s request, a strike could be the next step for the workers.

The contract between Disney and its Cast Members ran out last October, and since then, Disney employees have been working under a temporary agreement while the two sides worked out a long-term contract. Disney employees have held numerous protests to voice their displeasure with the Company and its refusal to meet their demands.

Cast Member Strike

The two sides are at odds over money. Disney’s offer to the union would immediately raise all employees’ minimum salary to $15 an hour with a guaranteed raise of $1 a year until the employees reached $20 an hour. The union overwhelmingly rejected that proposal from Disney, seeking a guaranteed $ 18-an-hour wage, citing the rising cost of living in the Orlando area as their primary concern.

According to Expatistan, which tracks the cost of living in cities in America, even by making $18 an hour, most Disney employees would still fall below the cost of living in the city. The website estimates that an individual can expect living costs of $3,456 a month and $5,657 for a family of four.

Cast Member Strike

Universal Orlando Resort added additional pressure on Disney by raising its minimum wage to $17 an hour. This adds to the public pressure faced by Walt Disney World to increase salaries just like their biggest competitors just did. It should also be mentioned that Universal Studios’ Team Members are not unionized, and it is unclear at this time how that situation could complicate or even prohibit any affiliated Cast Members from switching teams.

There is one slight problem for the unions who may see a strike as their only option. The current contract with Disney prohibits anyone under contract from organizing a strike. There is a technicality to that agreement, though, since the unions are not currently under contract. This would allow Cast Members to strike to put further public pressure on Disney.

These negotiations come at a critical time for the Walt Disney Company. CEO Bob Iger recently announced another round of layoffs at the Company while telling investors that Disney saw an 8% increase in profit in the first quarter. Disney Parks saw a 21%  increase in earnings during the first quarter of the 2023 fiscal year, bringing in $8.7 billion in revenue.

Cast Member Strike

Credit: Twitter

As Cast Members fight for a higher standard of living, their only option to end this impasse with Disney World may be to walk out of a job and disrupt the Happiest Place on Earth.

This is pure speculation and at this time it is still unclear what might happen in the upcoming negotiations, as well as how this could affect the Guest experience. We at Disney Fanatic will continue to keep you updated as this story unfolds.

About Rick

Rick is an avid Disney fan. He first went to Disney World in 1986 with his parents and has been hooked ever since. Rick is married to another Disney fan and is in the process of turning his two children into fans as well. When he is not creating new Disney adventures, he loves to watch the New York Yankees and hang out with his dog, Buster. In the fall, you will catch him cheering for his beloved NY Giants.

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