Competition Raises Minimum Wage Higher Than Disney World

Universal Raises Minimum Wage
Credit: Universal

While wage negotiations between The Walt Disney World Resort and its labor unions, progress is made a little further down I-4 at the Mouse House’s biggest competitor.

universal orlando

Universal Orlando Resort/Universal

Starting this Summer, Universal Orlando Resort will raise its minimum wage, and if things don’t change, the Team Members at Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay Water Park will officially enjoy a higher minimum wage than Disney World Cast Members.

Theme Park Reporter Scott Gustin, shared a letter from Universal’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Karn Irwin, which states, “Effective June 4, Universal Orlando is increasing its starting base rate to $17 per hour. Additional starting rates across the company will also be increased.”

Both Universal and Walt Disney World increased their minimum wage to $15 per hour in 2021, but due to factors such as rampant inflation and skyrocketing housing costs, employees say they need more in order to tend to basic living needs.

Recently, Disney World offered one of its largest labor unions an offer to raise the base wage by $1/hour each year over the next four years, a rise to over $20/hour that outpaces the previously voted-for State rate. Still, the offer was voted down in a near-unanimous vote, as union members continue to seek an immediate raise of $3/hour. Negotiations are expected to resume between the two parties Wednesday, February 15, 2023.

“We deeply believe in our mission to provide an inclusive environment where our Team Members are proud to work and we remain committed to that focus,” Irwin wrote to employees. “Therefore, we continually evaluate our compensation, perks, and benefits programs and why we are committed to engaging with and listening to you.”

Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure, Universal Orlando Resort

Credit: Universal

It should be noted that Disney’s current minimum wage negotiations are specifically for its food and beverage and housekeeping employees through the leaders of Unite Here Local 737. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Universal, on the other hand, does not have a unionized workforce, and its wage increases, as well as improvements of other benefits from 401(k)s to break room areas, is not for any specifically disclosed group of employees.

About T.K. Bosacki

Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, TK Bosacki is a professional writer, amateur adventurer, and lifelong Disney Fanatic. His Disney Park days include Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, Kilimanjaro Safaris, and Nomad Lounge. He believes in starting at the Canada pavilion (IYKYK), and the Monorail is superior to all Ferry Boats.

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