Disney World Cast Members Hold Rally for Wage Increases Amid Contract Battle

    The Most Magical Place on Earth. That’s what Walt Disney World is to millions of visitors per year. It is an escape from reality and an immersion into fantasy. From battles against “Programs” on The Grid in the upcoming TRON Lightcycle Run roller coaster to battles against the First Order in Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, there is another battle that has been ongoing for months – the battle for a pay raise for Cast Members. This afternoon Cast Members held a “Rally for a Raise” near Magic Kingdom.

    Disney World and Cast Member unions have been negotiating a contract for more than 6 months. Since August 2022, the Service Trades Council Union (STCU) and Disney have been trying to iron out a contract. In October 2022, a multi-year contract expired and the pressure to finalize a new contract started to build. Month after month, Disney and the STCU met at the negotiating table and worked to iron out the details.

    In short, the STCU, which represents more than 40,000 Cast Members, is seeking a raise from the current minimum wage of $15/hr to a wage of $18/hr. The STCU says that $18 is the minimum wage that can be considered a living wage in Central Florida. Both the STCU and Disney World want to construct a contract that goes up to $20/hr, but the STCU wants to reach $20/hr in three years and Disney World presented a 5-year track to $20. During all of this, Universal Orlando announced that it would raise its minimum wage to $17/hr this year.

    Back in February, Disney World presented an offer of a $1/hr raise for Cast Members as its “best offer”. That proposed wage increase went to a vote and more than 13,000 Cast Members voted against the offer. That figure represented a 96% ‘no’ vote of eligible Cast Members.

    Earlier today, Local 737 which is one of the 6 unions that comprise the STCU, gave an update on the latest offer and what they are seeking. Here’s the statement:

    What raises are we fighting for? $18 minimum in 2023 for QSR, Food Handlers, Seaters, Convention Guides and thousands of jobs in other unions like Attractions, Custodial, Parking, Characters and Merchandise. Disney has offered only $17 in 2023 for current Cast Members.

    Both the Union and the Company continue to propose the large raises for Culinary, Stewarding and Housekeeping that we presented during the vote in February. For example:
    – Housekeeping: Increase from $17 to $20 ($3 raise)
    – Stewarding: Increase from $15 to $18 ($3 raise)
    – Cook 2: Increase from $16.40 to $20 ($3.60 raise)
    – Cook 1: Increase from $19 to $23.10 ($4.10 raise)
    – Chef Assistant: Increase from $20 to $24.60 ($4.60 raise)

    Those raises are secure. But on February 15, 2023 Disney made a new contract proposal that reduced the retroactive pay for Housekeeping, Stewarding and Culinary. Instead of calculating retroactive pay using these large raises, Disney proposed to reduce the retroactive pay to only $1 per hour. The Union made it clear to Disney that their proposal is unacceptable.

    For example, under Disney’s new proposal, a Housekeeper who will get an initial raise from $17 to $20 would not get retroactive pay calculated on the full $3 raise. Instead, Disney proposed that retroactive pay will be calculated on only $1.

    We will fight until we win the full retroactive pay owed to all Cast Members.
    Local 737 Cast Member union

    The $17/hr proposal is still $1/hr below what the union wants, but $1/hr more than what was presented to a vote back in February. The union has repeatedly stated that retroactive pay back to October 2022 is part of their demands. There has been no announced date for a return to the negotiating table. A Disney spokesperson issued the following statement:

    We look forward to resuming discussions with the union and reaching an agreement that raises cast member wages.
    Disney spokesperson

    This afternoon, STCU has decided to hold a “Rally for a Raise” less than a mile from Cinderella Castle and just across the street from Magic Kingdom Cast Member parking. The turnout was strong and there was support from Cast Members and other drivers leaving the Magic Kingdom area.

    As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!

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