It's time for Disneyland contact negotiations again

April 16, 2024, 5:40 PM · Labor unions representing thousands of cast members at Disneyland Resort kicked off their 2024 contract campaign today with a press event in Anaheim.

The contracts for 13,000 cast members represented by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers, the Service Employees International Union-United Service Workers West, the Teamsters Local 495, and the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 324, expire June 16. Campaigning under the slogan, "we make the profits possible - pay us what we deserve," the unions today cited a survey of Disneyland Resort cast members that found 28% of survey respondents reported experiencing food insecurity, 42% of respondents had to miss work for medical treatment because they did not have enough sick leave, and 64% reported spending more than half their monthly paychecks on rent. And 73% reported not earning enough to cover basic expenses each month.

In response, Disneyland preemptively sent local media its own numbers, which report that more than 50% of cast members have a base hourly rate of $21.25 or more. Since 2020, Disneyland said that hourly starting wages have increased 42% in-park, non-tipped food and beverage cast members, from $15 to $21.25. Effective September 1, those starting wages will go up to $23 an hour. That outpaces the 20% increase in the Consumer Price Index for the Los Angeles metro area over the same period, Disneyland said.

If you are curious for more context, The Walt Disney Company reported a 23% increase in operating income for its Experiences segment, which includes its theme parks worldwide, during the fiscal year ending September 30, 2023.

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Replies (2)

April 16, 2024 at 5:42 PM

As a former cast member and now editor of Theme Park Insider, I always fall on the side of paying theme park employees more. But the TL;DR here is... everyone is right.

Disney is making billions of dollars on its theme parks, and it pays its employees relatively well compared with other entry-level retail and F&B positions in the market, especially when benefits such as Disney Aspire (paid college education) are considered. However, that's still not enough for most of Disney's hourly cast members to live on, given escalating housing prices.

Disney is not blame for the state of the state's and nation's housing crises, but one can argue that Disney's support of "business friendly" politicians helps contribute to the problem, since those are not exactly the politicians that anyone expects to stand up to Wall Street and real estate investors and reserve housing for, you know, use as homes. But that quickly leads us beyond even my expansive view of what I am willing to cover on this site.

My prediction? Both sides will campaign in the press. The message on both sides will distill to "they're being greedy and unreasonable," and then - when the deadline is imminent - the unions and Disney will agree to a deal that both sides will hail as a win for them. Which is exactly how labor negotiations are supposed to go.

April 17, 2024 at 1:21 PM

Headline: "Contract", not :"Contact".

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