A union representing 2,700 housekeepers and other low-wage workers at Disneyland Resort filed a federal unfair labor practice complaint Tuesday against the entertainment giant for holding a promised $1,000 bonus “hostage” during contract negotiations.
The National Labor Relations charge by Unite Here Local 11 came the day after a written ultimatum from the Walt Disney Co. conditioning its bonus on the union’s ratification of the company’s latest contract offer.
The one-time bonus for 125,000 Disney workers was announced with fanfare in January, with the company attributing it to the corporate tax cut law, signed by President Donald Trump in December.
“If the company’s comprehensive offer is ratified by March 31, 2018, the bonus will be paid,” the Disney document reads. “If the company’s offer is not ratified by August 31, 2018, the bonus offer will expire.”
“Disney is holding our bonus hostage,” said Ada Briceño, co-president of Local 11 which represents workers at the Disneyland Hotel, Paradise Pier Hotel and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel. “They just increased their park prices, but the 40-cent raise they are offering to most of our workers is not going to put food on the table or allow our members to live in a dignified way.”
The union complaint noted Disneyland is withholding the $1,000 “notwithstanding the union’s lack of objection to payment of bonuses to employees.” The company, it asserted “has violated its duty to bargain in good faith, and has engaged in conduct that is inherently destructive to rights guaranteed employees under the [National Labor Relations] Act.”
Disney spokeswoman Suzi Brown responded, “Because we are in an open contract with Local 11 and wages and bonuses are terms and conditions of employment, the bonus is part of our negotiation process.”
As for Disney’s contract offer, she added, “We have a strong offer on the table that includes wage increases averaging 3 percent annually over three years and a $15 hourly rate for certain job classifications, such as housekeeping and specialty culinary.”
California’s minimum wage, reflecting the state’s high cost of living, is scheduled to rise to $15 an hour by 2022 for companies with 26 employees or more.
“Disney said you can have $1,000 if you agree to stay poor,” charged Eric Clinton, president of the Florida Unite Here local in a video on the union’s Facebook page. “Let us be clear, Disney cast members deserve a living wage. We will not allow a $1,000 trick of a bonus to be held over our heads.”
In December, 93 percent of the members of the Florida unions voted against Disney’s most recent offer of a 50-cent-an-hour raise over the next two years, along with a $200 signing bonus. The average hourly wage of the unions’ Disney World members is $10.71, according to the unions. Only 3,000 make more than $15 an hour.
In Anaheim, many Disneyland workers earned between $10.50 and $11 an hour until California raised its minimum wage to $11 in January.
This week’s Disney dust-up quickly spilled over onto social media with some commenters saying a 3 percent raise is sufficient, and others pointing to Orange County’s high cost of living and taking aim at Disney’s multi-million dollar executive salaries.
In regulatory filings last month, Disney disclosed its chairman and CEO Bob Iger made $36.3 million in compensation in 2017, down from $43.9 million in 2016.
Source: OC Register
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