Disney hikes hourly pay to $18 for Florida union workers after heiress highlighted their Food Stamp-dependent plight in a documentary

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Disney hikes hourly pay to $18 for Florida union workers after heiress highlighted their Food Stamp-dependent plight in a documentary

Walt Disney reached a tentative labor agreement with union employees at its Florida theme parks, guaranteeing janitors, ride operators and food-service staff minimum pay of $18 an hour.

Under the multiyear agreement, which is still subject to approval by members, employees will receive an increase of as much as $8.60 an hour by the end of the contract, with the first $3 coming this year, the union said Thursday in a statement.

The Service Trades Council Union, which represents some 45,000 staffers at the Walt Disney World resort, has been in negotiations with the company for months. In 2018, the group secured a pay hike to $15 an hour. That contract expired in October. 

In February, the workers rejected an offer from Disney that the union said was inadequate.

Pay at Disney theme parks has been a perennial complaint by activists and labor groups. Heiress Abigail Disney released a documentary, The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales, about the plight of low-paid company workers. 

Unite Here Local 737, one of the unions involved, released a survey last year that said some theme-park staffers had skipped meals because they didn’t have enough money to pay for food. The workers cited the rising cost of living in central Florida as reason for their wage demands.

Disney is one of the largest employers in Florida. Its Magic Kingdom park is the most popular in the world, attracting 12.7 million guests in 2021. 

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