Disney has about 37,000 unionized Cast Members at the most magical place on earth. The unions and the Cast Members are getting ready to negotiate for higher wages, more affordable benefits and improvements to pension plans because their union contract is set to expire at the end of March.
“I love my job, but I have been working here for 20 years, and making $13.45 after that long doesn’t sound like much,” said Sherry Shulz, 65, who trains new hires. She said more money would ease her concerns over paying for health care and gas for her 40-mile commute to work.
Cast Members at Disney World are represented by 6 different local unions called the Service Trades Council
The unionized Disney workers also get opportunities for overtime, as well as paid holidays and vacation time.
“Disney is a great company to work for and they care about their people … but it’s very hard to get by on what many of them make, and we think they can do more financially,” said Ed Chambers, president of the Service Trades Council.
The group represents local branches of the United Food and Commercial Workers, Teamsters, Transportation Communications International Union, Unite Here and International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. It was formed in 1971, just as Disney World was preparing to open and hiring its first workers, Chambers said.
Wages differ based on position and length of time Cast Members have worked with the company. For example, a Disney character’s wage starts at $8.20 per hour, and maxes out at $13.59. Base pay for an entertainment technician, on the other hand, starts at $14.75 an hour and is capped at $21.60.
Keeping the cost of benefits down will be another component of the negotiations, said Donna-Lynne Dalton, a former Disney performer and treasurer for the Service Trades Council.
Chambers said Disney had offered to extend the current contract for another year and raise wages by 3.5% back in August, however 2 of the unions rejected the idea in hopes of larger raises.
The union pressure comes from the fact that Disney has been rolling in the money and Cast Members feel the company should pass along some of the profits to the people who make the company what it is today. Disney has seen a record number of guests. Recently they reported over a 10% increase in operating profit from their parks and resorts.
Wishing you Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust