Thousands of Disney workers rally for better pay, benefits

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. —

Thousands of Disney union workers rallied and marched together Monday evening as contract negotiations with the company continue. 

Workers are bargaining over a new compensation package that includes more money and better benefits. Those in attendance Monday included housekeepers, custodians, and food and beverage employees.

Lorena Jimenez has worked as a Disney housekeeper for 12 years.

"When I was in mexico, I even imagined to be part of Disney. I see Disney on TV," Jimenez said.

But Jimenez believes her salary isn't enough to carry the weight of supporting her family.

"It's very difficult. I have to decide what I have to pay. if I pay the rent or the electric bill," Jimenez said.

Jimenez joined more than 1,000 Disney cast members and hit the streets of Orlando in a rally for better pay and benefits.

"I'd like to see Disney make an offer that they certainly can afford and that our members can live with," said Eric Clinton, president of Local 362.

Disney officials said they put an offer on the table in April that pays for 75 percent of health care premium costs and includes a wage increase for the roughly 23,000 employees affected by the negotiations. Disney also said the offer maintains the pension for existing cast members and also offers a 401K program beginning in 2016. 

"Our offer included starting wage increases from $9 an hour to $10 an hour in 2016," Disney spokesperson Jacquee Wahler said.

Cast members told WFTV they'll continue working while negotiations continue but are hopeful for a better offer. Their current contract expires July 17.

"We have to make our dreams come true the way we make to the guests," Jimenez said.

In a statement Disney said, "This offer reflects our appreciation and care for our Cast Members and our commitment to providing a leading employment package. We look forward to working with the union and engaging in constructive negotiations to finalize and reach a collective bargaining agreement."