LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - They've been negotiating for almost a year, but Disney and the unions that represent 38,000 of its workers could be making serious progress toward striking a deal on a wage increase.
The unions have been demanding a minimum wage of $15 an hour, and Disney is now offering to meet that demand by 2021.
But the unions said it's not a done deal yet, because Disney wants to re-negotiate other terms in their contract, such as overtime pay.
Unionized Disney employees huddled around a table into the evening, discussing the latest offer Disney presented Tuesday.
"The company has given us a proposal. They've given an offer today," said Angie McKinnon of Unite Here Local 737. "Our bargaining committee is reviewing it. At this time, we have no further comment."
Disney confirmed that it offered to pay the employees at least $15 per hour by 2021 and said it wants to re-negotiate certain terms in the contract as part of that offer.
"It's on the table, but we have to give certain things back to the company to enable us to get that money," said Bob Harris, a Walt Disney World bus driver.
Since last summer, unions have staged a number of boisterous demonstrations.
In December, members rejected Disney's offer of an annual 3 percent raise with a minimum of 50 cents per hour and a $200 ratification bonus.
Even though the company has upped the offer, union members aren't all ready to jump on the deal.
"The tax breaks are permanent. The company now knows the tax structure, the tax liability they have into the future," said Shawn Britton of Teamsters Local 385. "There's no reason why they cannot offer a really good raise."
The unions said no date has been set to return to the bargaining table to try to iron out their differences, and it's unknown if the unions will present the offer to their members for a vote.
Disney is in the process of hiring 3,500 full-time, part-time and seasonal employees. The company is holding several job fairs in the coming weeks. Eligible candidates may receive a hiring bonus of up to $3,000. Click here for further details.
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