Disney Workers “Grossly Underpaid”: More on Recent Protests

union workers disney world protest

The Walt Disney World Resort has been fraught with the controversy surrounding wages for workers and the recent protest the Disney Park saw. More context has emerged recently as to the reason for these protests. The Walt Disney Company has seen much upheaval recently, between the ousting of former Disney CEO Bob Chapek and the return of his predecessor, current Disney CEO Bob Iger. Iger has been called in to reorganize the company post Chapek’s tenure.

main street usa magic kingdom disney characters 50 anniversary

Mickey Mouse and other classic Disney characters, Main Street, U.S.A./Disney

Read More: Disney World To See Large Protest In Coming Days

But this isn’t all that has been plaguing the Mouse House. It has also been swimming in the throes of the protests by workers’ unions who demand better working conditions and compensation for Disney workers.

The Guardian recently reported on this development, speaking to a Disney employee. Earl Penson, who worked for 11 years as a food handler at Walt Disney World, shared:

“We’re grossly, grossly underpaid for the hours that we work and the heavy lifting, it’s like warehouse and driver work. A lot of us have the same story in not being able to afford the cost of living on the pay that we make…A lot of Disney workers are barely squeaking by. You have workers with families sleeping in their car.”

magic kingdom park

Magic Kingdom Park/Disney

Read More: Disney Responds to Cast Member Protests, Union Dispute

The report also pointed out that one of the primary reasons this increase in living wage was necessary was that, according to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, a living wage for an individual with no dependents in Orange County, Florida, is currently $18.19 an hour.

The article also spoke to an employee who chose to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. The Disney housekeeping worker explained the pay is nowhere close to where it needs to be to accommodate the costs of living in Orlando. The worker also added they recently had a newborn son and received no paid leave.

“With Christmas around the corner we’re beyond stressed,” the worker said. “Groceries are limited because we just can’t afford it. It’s genuinely an emergency for our survival at this point.”

Mickey Mouse at Magic Kingdom Park

Mickey Mouse at Magic Kingdom Park/Disney

Penson, who began working for Disney following in the footsteps of his father, shared a concluding sentiment,

“It’s really heartbreaking, it’s a morale downer, because you would think they would recognize how hard the cast members work. I wish they would let us know that they appreciate the magic that we bring. Every one of us is a part of the magic of Disney and we enjoy making the magic. We just want to be compensated for making the magic.”

We at Disney Fanatic will continue to report on this and all other Disney news as it comes to light.

About Priyanka Kumar

Priyanka is a writer, artist, avid reader, and travel enthusiast based in Chicago. In her free time, she is probably walking by the lake, catching up on the latest releases on TV, or spending inordinate amounts of time rewatching Moana, Encanto, and her Disney Channel life-long favorites Zack and Cody wreak havoc on the Tipton.

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