Disney workers rally again for pay increase ahead of union negotiations with company

by: Ken Tyndall Updated:

Unionized Disney employees took to the streets again Monday in an effort to persuade the company to increase the average worker's pay from $10 to $15 an hour.

 

Monday's was the second rally by Disney employees in as many months.

 

Hundreds of unionized workers staged a rally outside the Crossroads entrance to Disney World on Oct. 19.

 

Demonstrators marched through the intersection for nearly two hours, holding signs and slowing traffic to a crawl.

 

They also had a mock-up of a Disney bus moving through the crosswalks as they called on Disney to pay them more.

 

Orange County deputies eventually showed up and broke up the rally.

 

Photos: Employees rally outside Disney World demanding more pay

 

The unions represent 38,000 Disney workers -- everybody from food and beverage workers to ride operators -- who have a current minimum pay of $10 an hour.

 

Monday's rally was held outside the Star Motel on West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway in Kissimmee.

 

Bus driver Kevin Can Orman said he is just barely getting by on his Disney salary and is forced to feed his family of four on a food budget of less than $100 a month.

 

"Right now, I'm -- my budget for the month is $80 for food, and that's to feed four people," he said. "So right now, it's really tough, really hard. And, you know, I've got car insurance and (a) truck payment. I've got gas to get back and forth to work and a mortgage payment. 

 

"Right now, I'm dangling by a thread."

 

Negotiations were called off on Oct. 24 between Disney and its largest workers union and the negotiating deadline was extended to Dec. 1.

 

Workers will continue under their existing agreement through Dec. 1. There will be no changes for park goers.

 

The union is not talking about where things stand at the bargaining table.

 

It's a big change from the previous negotiation when the union was vocal about its demands.

 

Tension has been rising since the union first re-opened wage negotiations in July.

 

Disney, Orlando's biggest employer with about 74,000 employees, said cast members already earn nearly $2 an hour more than the Florida minimum wage for entry-level roles.

 

The company agrees workers deserve a raise, which is why it is offering up to a 5 percent raise over the next two years for most existing cast members.

 

The union wants the average pay to increase up to $15 an hour.

 

The union and Disney are expected to return to the bargaining table on Nov. 28.

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