by: Ken Tyndall Updated:
OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - Citing an increasing cost of living and relatively stagnant pay, workers at Disney parks in Central Florida are working with the company to negotiate a higher minimum wage.
Travis Joyner is a driver at Animal Kingdom’s safari ride, one of the park’s most popular attractions.
He enjoys his job, but has a hard time making ends meet while being paid less than $12 an hour.
“My goal is to eventually make enough money that I don’t have to decide which bill gets paid this month and which one doesn’t,” Joyner said.
Joyner and 36,000 other Disney employees are represented by a union, which negotiated a minimum wage of $10 for cast members in 2014.
The contract allows for the union to reopen wage talks in 2017.
“It’s very difficult to make ends meet in a town where rent continues to go up and wages have stayed fairly stagnant,” union president Eric Clinton said.
The two sides have until October to come to an agreement, which the company said would be fair all around.
“We plan to put forth an overall employment package that is fair and equitable for the cast and the company,” Walt Disney World Resort Vice Presicent Jacquee Wahler said in a media statement.
Employees such as Belinda Osorio, who works as a housekeeper for Disney, hope the new agreement will give them a financial boost that allows them to keep doing the jobs they love.
“We work so hard to make magic for all these people, and we need Disney to make magic for their cast members,” Osorio said.
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