Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Orlando, FL, United States (4E) – Employees at Walt Disney World Resort will be paid $15 per hour starting 2021. The wage increase deal was agreed upon between the management of Walt Disney World Resort and the Service Trades Council Union (SCTU), which represents employees at the resort and theme park located at Orlando, Florida.
The deal will finally end contract negotiations, at times testy, that have dragged on for almost a year. It will increase starting wages by 50 percent while employees will also get the $1,000 bonuses they were promised earlier this year.
Under the deal, the minimum wage will climb step-by-step over the next three years before hitting $15 per hour in October 2021. The deal also includes an offer to retroactively pay workers an additional 50 cents an hour or 3% — whichever is greater– for all hours worked since September of 2017.
Employees covered by the deal include food service, custodial, hotel and park workers. Union members will vote on the wage increase package on September 5. The agreement is easily expected to be approved by the members. It was the result of marathon negotiations that lasted into the late evening of Aug. 24.
“I expect it to be a resounding ‘yes,'” said Eric Clinton, president of Unite Here Local 362. “We’ve had excellent turnout. People feel so high … I walked in this morning at 7 a.m. for a staff meeting and people were clapping and cheering, and they just really feel great.”
In a statement, Disney said the deal contains the “largest proposal ever offered by Walt Disney World Resort with significant pay raises.”
Clinton said the unions did not make any major concessions during negotiations. He said the agreement reached this week was the result of workers putting up a united front.
“Disney is a powerful company, they’re a formidable foe,” he said. “To stand up to your boss that’s that big and that powerful is really remarkable, and it’s really inspiring.”
Robbin Almand, vice president of labor relations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said the company was “thrilled” to offer “what is one of the highest entry-level service wages in the country.”
Disney reached a deal in July to increase the minimum hourly wage to $15 for 10,000 Disneyland workers in Anaheim, California beginning 2019 In June, Disney hinted it was willing to offer a $15 minimum wage to Walt Disney World employees.
Negotiation, however, bogged down over certain provisions Disney wanted to include in the new contract. They included rules governing scheduling and how employees are paid for working overtime and holidays.
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