As the first round of negotiations between Disney and union representatives began yesterday, Disney placed their opening offer on the table. Their proposal would increase cast member salaries by 2.5%, while freezing the new hire starting minimum wage at $10 an hour. The coalition of unions representing more than half of Disney World employees has something else in mind.
Although they have not yet given any specific details of their counterproposal, the unions speaking for 38,000 workers aim to increase average salaries for cast members from $11.28 to $15.71 an hour.
According to Disney, their average cast member salary is closer to $13.34 an hour, but only after overtime and premium pay are factored in.
Disney released a statement regarding the proposal which said,
"Our starting Cast Members currently earn nearly $2 more an hour than Florida’s minimum wage for entry level jobs. We will continue to negotiate in good faith with the union to reach a fair and reasonable agreement."
The Service Trades Council Union is negotiating on behalf of six locals representing 38,000 people; employees represented hold diverse positions within Disney including bus drivers, hotel housekeeping, lifeguards, and custodians. After the discussions, Unite Here Local 737 president Jeremy Haicken stated that the union coalition's proposal was a "significant increase", but necessary to improve the standard of living for cast members. He said,
"It’s something that affects the entire community in Central Florida. Everybody knows somebody who works at Disney. There’s a lot of interest in this negotiation."
Disney and the unions have until October 24th to achieve an agreeable compromise; after that they will move on to negotiating other issues.
Source: Orlando Sentinel
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