Disney worker unions negotiate $18 minimum wage

After months of negotiations, unions representing thousands of Disney employees have successfully negotiated a new minimum wage of $18 per hour. 

On Thursday, March 23, multiple unions led by Local 737 reached new terms with Orlando’s largest theme park for pay increases that will go into effect retroactively, dating back to October of last year. 

Over 45,000 employees will have the chance to vote on the new set of terms on Wednesday, March 29. 

Under the agreement, every current theme park worker represented by the unions will receive a rise between $5.50 and $8.60 by the end of the contract. 

For workers that are currently earning the minimum of $15 an hour, minimum hourly rates will increase to $16 an hour, effective October 1, 2022. The pay will increase again to $17 upon ratification, and $18 an hour this December. In total, the raise will be $5.50, with the first $3 coming by December 2023. 

“Securing an $18 minimum hourly rate this year, increasing the overall economic value of Disney’s original offer, and ensuring full back pay for every worker are the priorities union members were determined to fight for. Today, we won that fight,” said Matt Hollis, president of the Services Trades Council Union. 

Workers across multiple classifications will also receive additional increases, including housekeepers, who will increase from $17 to $20 immediately, ending at $24 by October 2026. 

The agreement also provides eight weeks of paid Child Bonding Leave, which does not exist in the current contract. 

The move comes after several months of tense negotiations between Disney and the multiple unions that comprise STCU. In February, approximately 14,000 members voted to reject Disney’s previous offer of a $17 per hour minimum wage. 

Just one week after union members rejected Disney’s proposal, Universal Orlando Resort announced that it would raise its minimum wage to $17 per hour in June. 

In January, Sodexo, which staffs the Orange County Convention Center, agreed to terms on a new minimum wage of $18 per hour. 

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