Disney World Union Demands Better Pay and Conditions for Tipped Employees

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UNITE HERE Local 737, the union representing Walt Disney World’s Food & Beverage and Housekeeping workers, has issued a demand letter calling for significant improvements in pay and working conditions for tipped employees. These demands affect 4,000 tipped employees, including part-time and full-time workers, servers, server assistants, and bartenders. Although the current contract is not set to expire until 2027, the union is pushing for immediate changes to address ongoing issues, while recognizing some of the demands will not be easy or quick to implement.

Related: Employees at Patina Restaurant Group in Disney Springs Restaurants Announce Campaign to Unionize

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Key demands include a guaranteed 20% gratuity on every guest check, regardless of party size, with an additional tip line for guests who wish to tip more. This aims to ensure fair compensation for all servers. Additionally, the union is pushing for a standardized allergy process to prevent unjust reprimands for issues beyond the workers’ control, along with a commitment to grieve and arbitrate every unfair discipline.

The union is also advocating for health insurance for all tipped part-time cast members and changes to the contract to prevent tipped workers from being sent home without pay. They seek payouts for lost gratuities and charge tips following reinstatement after suspension, as well as a well-defined ratio of server assistants to servers, with a proposed increase in server assistants’ hourly pay to $19 per hour.


For bartenders, the union demands a clear ratio of bartenders to bar stools, no reduction in bar stools or cocktail tables, and an increase in hourly pay to $19 per hour. Similarly, cocktail servers are also seeking an increase in hourly pay to $19 per hour. The union emphasizes no outsourcing of restaurants or related jobs and insists that Disney follow the union contract’s normal transfer guidelines when opening new locations.

Related: Man sues Disney Springs Restaurant after Wife Dies from Severe Allergic Reaction

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Another significant demand is reversing the trend of increasing part-time workers by ensuring that full-time employees who leave are replaced by other full-time employees, not part-timers. Additionally, the union is calling for the creation of 300 more full-time tipped positions to return to the previous full-time to part-time ratio and guaranteeing three shifts per week for part-timers.

The union has also issued a separate letter requesting a meeting with Disney Labor Relations to discuss the guest allergy process in food and beverage locations, citing the ‘lack of clarity and consistency in the guest allergy process’ as the key reason for the meeting. This request comes on the heels of a highly publicized incident in which a physician was allegedly served a dish at Raglan Road in Disney Springs that contained food items she was allergic to, despite discussing the allergy issues with the staff. The physician died from anaphylaxis shortly after her meal.

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Chris is a Pennsylvania native who escaped the cold and relocated to the Orlando area. Our resident Universal expert, Chris has been visiting the Universal Orlando Resort since the 1990s. Chris is a Universal and Walt Disney World Passholder, and can often be found exploring the parks taking in the sites (and finding new things to write about!).
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