Walt Disney World’s largest union group voted on Friday to approve a contract that will increase minimum pay for workers to $10/hour by 2016. Sixty-seven percent of the approximately 7,000 employees who voted approved the contract, said Ed Chambers, president of the Service Trades Council, a coalition of six unions. The deal covers more than 23,000 full-time janitors, housekeepers, and bus drivers.
“Obviously the 33 percent that voted no were the higher-skilled jobs, and we understand that,” Chambers said. “But I think as a whole the mission of the council was to raise the people at the bottom.”
The 5 1/2 year deal will raise hourly pay from $8.03 to $9 per hour this year, $9.50 in 2015, and $10 in 2016. The agreement will keep the company’s pension plan in place for new hires and freeze employee insurance costs in 2015. After 2015 costs could rise, but the contract includes a cap. Workers who already make above the minimum rates will receive $.50 raises annually for three years.
“I am proud we will be able to continue to provide our Cast an industry-leading employment package that reflects the important role they play in our guests’ most special memories,” said George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort, in a statement. “Having started my career here as an hourly Cast Member, I know how crucial all roles are to the success of our resort.”
Disney will negotiate a contact for part-time workers later this month.