Cast Member
Credit: Disney

Judge rules that Disney is not bound by statute requiring it to pay specific minimum wage

A judge has ruled that Disney and its contractors aren’t bound by guidelines set forth by a ballot measure from 2018 that would have made the House of Mouse increase Cast Members’ pay to a minimum of $18 per hour by next year.

RELATED: Disneyland Cast Members say they don’t make a living wage

The ruling comes amid outcry from Disneyland Cast Members and their unions demanding higher pay and a “living wage,” in addition to better benefits. The unions representing Cast Members at Disney’s first theme park have backed an initiative that required businesses who receive subsidies from the City of Anaheim, California, to raise the minimum wage of their workers to a minimum of $15 per hour by two years ago, and then to increase that pay by at least $1 per hour to $18 per hour by the year 2022.

Credit: Disney

That initiative was voted on and passed in November three years ago. But in 2019, because Disney didn’t adhere to the new measure, Cast Members sued the entertainment giant for failure to comply with the approved measure.

Last Friday, Judge William D. Claster, an Orange County Superior Court magistrate ruled that even though Disney had benefitted from arrangements made in 1996 with the City of Anaheim, those particular arrangements aren’t the equivalent of a tax rebate or a subsidy from the City of Anaheim, such as the ones described in the approved ballot measure. The 1996 arrangements called for hotel taxes to be used to pay the debt owed on a parking structure that is used by Guests of the Disneyland Resort.

mickey at disneyland

Credit: Disneyland

It’s no secret that just before the ballot measure was to be voted on, Disney canceled incentive agreements it had with the City of Anaheim. Those incentives would have amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars in hotel room taxes that would have been used to build an upscale hotel.

RELATED: New “Toy Story”-themed hotel to open at Disney Park in April 2022

Mike Lyster, spokesman for the City of Anaheim said, “While we never want to see a dispute like this play out in court, we appreciate the judge’s determination. It validates what we already knew and have said: [that] the City of Anaheim does not provide any rebate or subsidy to Disney.”


About Becky Burkett

I'm an enthusiastic writer who finds joy in random things like cold weather, snow, "I Love Lucy," "The Andy Griffith Show," journals full of blank paper, countdowns to Christmas, the month of December, "Toy Story," "Sleeping Beauty," my 4 kids, my 4 shih tsus, Disney Parks history, Imagineering and visiting the parks. I think Walt Disney is the standard against which genius should be measured. I love to write about Disney Parks, Disney history, all things Imagineering and PIXAR. I adore the colors, story and art direction of Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" (Team Make it Blue!), and "Toy Story" is life (minus "Toy Story 4"). I believe Walt Disney was so much more than an entertainment and theme park tycoon; I believe he was a savant with a vision for life and how it could be if happiness and kindness are strived for. I love Biergarten at EPCOT and 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian. You can find me croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room, chillin' on the PeopleMover or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. I'm always looking for Imagineers in the parks, and I'd rather meet Joe Rohde and Tony Baxter than anyone in Hollywood! Hey, if you dream it, you really can do it!