Disney and the Union that represents most Cast Members (STCU) have been at odds since last October. The Union argues that Cast Members deserve $20 per hour. Disney has said “ok, but not yet” and offered a raise of $1 per hour each year until they get to $20 per hour. The Union, which represents more than 32,000 Cast Members, has expressed its displeasure in the offer but the final decision ultimately rested in the hands of the Cast Members they represent.
It seems as though they spoken. In a recent vote, Disney Cast Members have overwhelmingly (96%) rejected Disney’s latest offer. Matt Hollis, president of the Service Trades Council Union, said “Disney can do better and must do better.” Currently starting pay for Disney workers is $15 per hour, $4 above Florida’s minimum wage.
Disney responded to the vote in question statement saying, “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.” Disney made an operating profit of $12 billion dollars last year.
The Unions argue Disney should have offered a $3 per hour increase, raising most wages to $18 per hour with a $1 per hour increase annually over the next two years. The STCU has already successfully negotiated this same deal for employees at the Orange County Convention Center.
Negotiations between Disney and the Union will resume again soon. Until then, many have worried that the Cast Members could decide to strike in order to force Disney’s hand. This is unlikely. Since the Union contract expired in October, the contract between the Union and Walt Disney World has been month to month with specific clauses that prevent striking. To do so would be breach of contract and possibly result in job loss and stall negotiations.
The Union could decide not to renew their month to month agreement in order to strike but this is also unlikely. Even if they did do this, members of the union (Disney Cast Members) would still need to vote to approve a strike. It seems unlikely many Cast Members would vote for a move that meant they’d go without pay for an extended period of time. It is possible though that a strike could happen. This would be catastrophic for Disney’s operations since the Union members encompass ride operators, costumed performers, housekeepers, restaurant and shop employees, bus drivers, as well as custodians.
Stay tuned. This is an ongoing story and we will be sure to bring you updates as they happen. We expect negotiations to resume within the month.