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Disney World President Weighs in on Cast Members’ Win in Union Wage Battle

disney world cinderella castle with man's face in front of it
Credit: DisneyDining

On Thursday evening, Disney World’s President weighed in on the news that Disney and the unions representing thousands of Cast Members who work at the Central Florida parks had finally come to an agreement about minimum wages and retroactive pay.

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Early on Thursday, union leaders and Disney representatives went back to the table to attempt negotiations yet again concerning minimum wages and pay due to unionized Cast Members since their previous contract expired in October 2022. Until today, negotiation meetings had not produced contract terms agreeable to both parties.

But after teasing that an “important announcement” would be made during a late afternoon press conference, union leaders and unionized Cast Members met at the Wyndham Orlando Resort and Conference Center to share the news that an agreement had finally been reached with Disney.

Disney Cast Members WIN their fight for fair pay at Walt Disney World!

Credit: GottaGoOrlando

Shortly thereafter, Disney World’s President Jeff Vahle posted a statement online, weighing in on the agreement:

Our Cast Members are central to Walt Disney World’s enduring magic, which is why we are pleased to have reached this tentative agreement. Disney is proud to offer an industry-leading employment package that includes comprehensive benefits and affordable medical coverage, in addition to 100 percent paid tuition for higher education for hourly employees through the Disney Aspire program. With the support of the unions, we anticipate Cast Members will approve this new agreement.

Cast Members must still vote to accept the agreement, and if they do, hourly increases will be effective immediately. Retroactive pay will be backdated to October 2022, when the previous contract expired.

Those who currently earn $15 per hour will receive retroactive pay to October 2022 at $16 per hour. As soon as the deal is ratified, that rate will immediately increase to $17 per hour. In December 2023, the rate will increase again to $18 per hour. For Disney World Cast Members who currently make the minimum wage already, the new contract guarantees more than a 36% wage increase over the life of the new agreement.

By the time the contract expires in October 2026, every Cast Member at Disney World will have received a raise of between $5.50 per hour and $8.60 per hour. The first $3.00 of that increase will come in 2023. The new deal also includes eight weeks of paid Child Bonding Leave, in addition to the pay increase. This benefit was not included in the previous contract.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!