The Service Trades Council Union has rejected Disney’s latest contract offer, saying a $1-an-hour raise is not enough. The historic minimum wage increase at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, is what unions want as the new standard.
After months of contract negotiations between Walt Disney World employees (cast members) and the Service Trades Council Union, there is no agreement.
Union members voted over the course of two days on whether to accept or reject Disney’s latest offer. In total, 13,650 out of 14,263 votes, or 96 percent, voted no to Disney’s contract offer. The union calls this the largest turnout in Disney history.
Disney proposed a $1-an-hour raise for most workers, but the resounding sentiment is that it is not enough.
Walt Disney World Resort is popular for meetings and events with five dedicated convention hotels and more than 700,000 square feet of ballroom, meeting, and event space.
“I voted no on Disney’s contract proposal because $1 is not enough. I live in a motel and struggle to make ends meet. Many of us can’t afford food to eat for lunch. It’s very insulting that Disney thinks this is all we deserve,” said Mike Beaver, who works in Disney’s Magic Kingdom and is a member of Unite Here Local 362.
Vilane Raphael, a housekeeper at Disney Saratoga Springs and a member of Unite Here Local 737, agrees. “I voted no because I’m standing in solidarity with the 30,000 workers who are only getting offered a $1 raise. Us housekeepers work extremely hard to bring the magic to Disney, but we can’t pay our bills with magic. We will fight until we win what we need for ourselves and our families.”
Convention Center Setting the New Standard
At the end of January, hundreds of workers employed by food services company Sodexo at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando who were ready to strike reached an agreement that includes a historic minimum wage increase from $13 to $18.50 an hour and a pension.
The hope was this increase would pave the way for other hospitality workers in Central Florida, said Angie McKinnon, financial secretary-treasurer of Unite Here Local 737.
“Disney is one of biggest employers in Central Florida, and we are in a contract fight with them right now. What we won at the convention center will set a new standard in Central Florida,” said McKinnon.
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