A proposal that looked to some as a possible end to an almost year-long series of wage negotiations between the Walt Disney World Resort and labor unions representing its cast members is still being debated. Earlier today, the Service Trades Council Union, which represents 38,000 resort cast members, failed to reach a decision on an offer that would give them the $15 per hour pay increase they had long been seeking, but only if the unions conceded to cuts in other areas such as overtime and holiday pay.
President of the Service Trades Council Union Ed Chambers said of the proposal, “It was dead on arrival. These are all things we’ve bargained for for the past 40-plus years.”
The contract in question would see the minimum pay for Walt Disney World cast members increase from $10 an hour to $13 by 2019, $14 by 2020, and finally $15 by 2021.
Chambers stated that many union leaders believed the cost of the deal to be too high, and that the implications to overtime compensation, holiday pay, and changes to protocol for cast members looking to transfer positions or for stewards’ rights were unacceptable.
President of Unite HERE local 362 — one of the unions represented in the STCU — Eric Clinton believes the deal is still open for consideration or negotiation. Clinton said, “To flat out say no to that kind of money is irresponsible.
Expectations are that negotiations will resume this summer.
Disney’s last offer was voted down in December of last year. That proposal would have seen two annual 50 cent or 3 percent increases per year, whichever was higher, and a $200 signing bonus, with cast members who receive tips getting the bonus but no wage increase.
In the aftermath of that rejected offer, this past February union members took issue with a withheld $1,000 one-time bonus offered to all Disney cast members after the recent Trump administration tax cuts. The unions have filed an unfair labor complaint, alleging that Disney is holding their bonuses hostage as a bargaining tactic during the current wage negotiations, and will not release them until an agreement is signed. Unionized cast members in Disneyland also filed a similar complaint, complete with a written ultimatum issued by Disney as support for their claim.
Chambers said of the bonus, “We’re trying to get that money. That important to our people they want to be treated like everybody else who works at Walt Disney World. No matter how you shake it, it’s an excess of a week’s pay.”
Source: The Orlando Sentinel
Image: Unite Here Central Florida