Walt Disney World Cast Member unions have officially approved the pay increase proposal put forth last week to the six unions collectively bargaining as the Services Trades Council Union!
The results were announced on the union’s Facebook page. More than 12,500 Cast Members voted in the poll today, and 97% voted to approve the measure. This is nearly the same as the 96% who rejected the previous “last, best, and final” offer from Disney in February which led to Cast Members rallying near the Magic Kingdom.
STCU President Matt Hollis said in the Facebook Live video “Today, Disney workers voted yes to a living wage now. Disney workers voted for record wage increases. Disney workers voted yes to a safer and more diverse workplace. And Disney workers voted yes to paid child bonding.”
Hollis also went forward with informing the company of their approval, and asked them to begin processing back pay checks immediately.
“It has been 542 days since Cast Members’ last raise,” said Hollis, “and it has been 217 long days since we began this round of bargaining. And today we are proud to close this chapter knowing that thousands of Cast Members will soon begin receiving their back pay and the hourly increases they need.”
Walt Disney World President Jeff Vahle issued a statement with the union’s announcement:
Our Cast Members have always been at the heart of the Walt Disney World experience, and we are thrilled that, with the support of the union, they have overwhelmingly approved this new five-year agreement that significantly increases wages, alongside our leading benefits program that includes affordable medical coverage and more. Frontline Cast Members also have access to 100 percent paid tuition for higher education through the Disney Aspire program.
Cast Member Unions’ Pay Raise Deal
After their “Rally for a Raise” two weeks ago, Walt Disney World Cast Members finally won negotiations for a pay raise last week following a return to negotiations by Disney.
Cast Members will be receiving a minimum wage of $17/hour now, with $18/hour by December. Back pay of $1 extra per hour since October 1, 2022 will also apply to Cast Members hired on or before that date.
All Cast Members will also receive a minimum of a $5.50 raise over the next five years under this new agreement, with the first $3 coming by December 2023. These new minimum wages will also apply to all new Cast Members. By October 2026, the minimum rate will increase to $20.50 per hour for current workers, and $20 per hour for all workers hired after December 3, 2023.
Additional raises will also come to several classifications of unionized Cast Members:
- Housekeepers: $17 to $20 immediately, $24 by October 2026
- Dishwashers: $15 to $18 immediately, $22 by October 2026
- Cook 2 (Prep cooks) : $16.40 to $20 immediately, $24 by October 2026
- Cook 1 (Line cooks): $19 to $23.10 immediately, $27.10 by October 2026
- Chef Assistant: $20 to $24.60 immediately, $28.60 by October 2026
- Bus Drivers: $18 to $20.50 immediately, $24.50 by October 2026
The agreement also contains a new provision for eight weeks of paid Child Bonding Leave, which allows a parent to take time off to bond with their newborn child within its first year. Other hourly premiums will also increase with the contract.
Struggles for a Living Wage
Negotiations over the contract, which expired in October but has remained in force during negotiation, focused primarily on wages, healthcare, and retirement. The negotiations began with Disney offering a pay rise of $1 to $16/hour as their “best offer” to Cast Members with plans to raise wages a further $1 annually until reaching $20. Cast Member unions has been asking for $18 per hour now, and a plan to eventually raise this to $20 per hour. In February, 96% of Cast Members voted to reject Disney’s “best and final offer.”
The Service Trades Council Union (STCU) represents more than 45,000 Cast Members working across Walt Disney World. STCU leaders canceled further negotiations with Walt Disney World following their refusal to add “even one cent” to their previous wage proposal and their removal of proposed retroactive pay for many Cast Members. After a brief stalemate, union leaders planned a “Rally for a Raise,” seeking public support for a fair contract. Earlier this month, the labor unions polled Cast Members to gauge the impact that low wages have had on their survival in order to quantify the difficulties these Disney employees have been facing.
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