Disney World Unions Push To Transform Mickey Mouse Wages Into Living Wages
By Doug Cunningham
Tired of working for Mickey Mouse low wages, 38,000 union Disney World workers began negotiations Monday for living wages. Wages are the only topic at the bargaining table. These Disney workers average about $10 an hour and the unions want a path to a $15 dollar minimum wage. The unions got Disney to improve wages in the last contract and these talks are a scheduled wage re-opener to see further improvements toward a living wage. Ed Chambers is President of UFCW Local 1625 and also heads the Service Trades Council of six unions representing the approximately 38,000 workers.
[Ed Chambers]: “Disney’s first offer was not a bad offer. They came out suggesting two percent for the employees at the top at every level. And they were doin’ the scale at two and a half percent.
Our proposal asked for pretty significant wage increases across the board. We asked for labor grades, which would mean every position would be in a labor grade. And there would be a scale, so that employees come in at one rate. At ninety days they would go to a rate, at one year they would be at one, at two years, three years, four years and five years at a top out.”
Chambers says Disney is bargaining in good faith. He says other employers in the hospitality/tourist industry in Florida pretty much matches Disney’s pay scale, so more union density in Florida would help all workers get living wages.
[Ed Chambers]: “Disney World – everybody else just matches and it doesn’t help the union situation. It doesn’t help the overall economy. We need to get some more hotels and resorts and the hospitality industry covered by collective bargaining so we get a little competition. And then we can do the standards that we have in place in a lot of other places in the United States.”