Contract Negotiations Between Disney and the Reedy Creek Firefighters Ongoing


The Reedy Creek Firefighters have been working for 2 years without a contract while they negotiated with Disney. Recently a special magistrate, James D. Stokes made a final decision regarding the negotiations and it appears that Disney has rejected the Magistrate’s final ruling.

WDW Info reports that the union was asking for the employee and employer to share the cost of health insurance increases, that health screenings include tests for cancer, and that a cost of living adjustment be made to the pay plans (something that hasn’t been done since 2008).

The magistrate sided with the firefighters, but Disney rejected the decision, returning a 16-page letter explaining why. Some of the reasoning included was “the decision took too long to render, that the district is a good place to work, and that the magistrate did not listen to their evidence.”

Disney’s attorney’s stated, “It is clear from his Recommendation that the Special Magistrate applied his own mistaken views of the bargaining process…”, that his “views run afoul of the Florida Administration Code”, and that he has “notions of industrial justice.”

The company said the evidence they presented “is consistent with a workforce who believes Emergency Service personnel are well compensated and appreciate their work environment.”

Stromsnes replies, “Their rejection is offensive not only to us and the process, but also the magistrate. We both had the opportunity to present our case to an impartial person. We both reviewed the qualifications of a list of magistrates and we both picked out Mr. Stokes. And because he didn’t side with the district, he must be some zealot out for industrial justice? Whatever that means. It doesn’t even occur to them that the reason they lost was because they simply had bad evidence.”

He added, “Most bullies think they are wonderful and that they really are not doing harm to their victims. But I don’t know of anyone who would be happy with an employer who withholds pay for almost two years, disregards the health and safety norms of their industry, and passes on the bulk of insurance premium increases to their employees.”

It was just announced that insurance costs will be going up almost 40% for the firefighters.

Stromsnes says the firefighters will consider other options, but the next step is to protest on November 16 at the Disney Springs grand re-opening.

He said, “In 2013, Disney earned $5.7 billion in profit. They are the only private company in American that has their own public government. Through the district they get out of paying sales tax on materials, finance their projects with tax free bonds, and avoid paying property taxes on many of their properties. And they still feel the need to find their projects off the backs of their employees.”

A $95 million dollar third Disney Springs parking garage construction project was just announced last month. Stromsnes said, “The cost of that garage would fund the increases in our contract for the next 70 years. But we aren’t the only ones taking a hit. It will be a ‘public’ garage giving it tax immunity while depriving the surrounding communities of millions of dollars of revenue. No other business gets a deal like that.”

hopefully the 2 can come to an agreement soon.

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