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Disney World Workers Reject Contract Offer

  • February 04, 2023

The company’s offer would raise pay for the covered employees by at least $1 an hour per year, taking most workers to at least $20 an hour by 2026. About 13,800 of the workers would get a raise of more than $1 an hour in the first year. Under the proposal, certain workers (housekeepers, bus drivers, certain culinary employees) would reach $20 an hour in the first year. Disney’s offer includes various perks, including an additional 401(k) plan and eight weeks of paid family leave.

The six unions want an immediate $3 an hour raise — lifting the starting minimum to $18 an hour, a level that they say is necessary to address runaway housing costs and other rising living expenses in the Orlando area. The unions want $1 an hour more in every subsequent year. (Last month, some of the same unions won an $18 an hour starting wage for workers at the nearby Orange County Convention Center.)

Disney will now need to return to the bargaining table.

The previous three-year contract expired in October. (Disney requested a five-year one as a replacement.) Since then, Disney World has been operating under an extension that prohibits the unionized workers from striking. It is unknown when the extension expires. Even when it does, members of the unions would still need to vote to approve a strike.

Contract talks started in August. Last month, Disney disclosed in a securities filing that its former chief executive, Bob Chapek, who was fired in the fall, received a $20 million severance package, outraging some union members. Disney also revealed that another ousted executive received $10 million for roughly three months of work, or more than $176,000 a day.

The Walt Disney Company needs to keep Disney World operating at full tilt to make up for losses in its nascent Disney+ streaming division. Last year, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products generated $7.9 billion in operating profit. Disney’s streaming unit lost about $4 billion.

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