It’s official! 45,000 Cast Members are getting a much deserved raise! Months of negotiations and back and forth between Disney and Services Trade Council have finally come to an end tonight as a deal is finalized. Disney, who has been fighting the Unions demands of $20/hr since last October, has finally reached a compromise that makes all parties happy.
When the Union initially asked for $20/hr Disney’s answer wasn’t exactly a middle finger but…it may as well have been. As a result the Union did not renew their contract with Disney, and instead operated on a month to month basis. This freed Cast Members to strike if an agreement couldn’t be reached. The current contract forbids Cast Members from a strike but the month to month term gave the Union and out to not renew to pave the way for a strike. Disney’s hand was forced and they knew it.
Disney came to the negotiation table with an offer of $16/hr with a $1/pay increase yearly over the course of 5 years to get wages to $20/hr. In a vote, unionized Cast Members overwhelmingly rejected the offer. Matt Hollis, president of the Service Trades Council Union, said “Disney can do better and must do better.”
Disney argued that the offer was more than fair. A representative said, “it was a strong offer that would provide more than 30,000 employees a nearly 10 percent on average raise immediately, as well as retroactive increased pay in their paychecks, and we are disappointed that those increases will now be delayed.”
The two groups went back to the drawing board. In January they resumed negotiations, this time the Union asked for a $3/hr increase putting Cast Members at $18/hr with a path to $20/hr over the next 2 years. Disney listened but didn’t have anything new to say. They repeated the same offer they had given before and got the same response. Disney again stood by their offer stating that it was a “strong and meaningful offer that outpaced Florida’s minimum wage by $5/hr.” Nevertheless, Cast Members said no and Disney was forced to resume negotiations.
This time however, Disney has something new to say. They sat down with an offer closely in line with the Union’s asking terms. The deal would give workers an immediate starting wage of $17 an hour before it bumps to $18 an hour in December. They also agreed to 8 weeks of paid Child Bonding Leave (a benefit not currently tly.offered to Cast Members). This time the Union was satisfied. Though they didn’t have the power to accept the terms, they did strongly encourage Cast Members to vote yes on the offer.
The vote, which was held today, was in the affirmative. Cast Members have agreed to Disney’s terms and Disney will soon give Cast a much deserved raise. The deal will also include retroactive pay back to when negotiations began in October.
“Securing an $18 minimum hourly rate this year, increasing the overall economic value of Disney’s original offer and ensuring full back pay for every worker are the priorities union members were determined to fight for,” Service Trades Council Union President Matt Hollis said.