ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - As a mediator walked from one room to another and then back again, 38,000 unionized Disney workers waited to hear if a compromise on pay raises had been reached Wednesday.
Company representatives and union officials were in separate rooms as a federal mediator tried to get the two sides to come to an agreement before Friday’s contract extension deadline.
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Currently, new Disney employees earn $10 an hour but the union wants that raised to average worker pay to top $15 an hour.
Disney has offered a 5 percent raise over two years, which the union has rejected.
Both sides were hoping Wednesday that some sort of compromise will be hammered out to avoid the possibility of a union strike.
“I’m optimistic that we’ll get to something that both the company and the union will agree on,” Magic Kingdom parking hostess Susie Easton said. “As far as how long that will take, I don’t know.”
Disney representatives have said they agree employees deserve a raise, but the amount is what neither side can agree on.
When asked about the possibility of a strike, Magic Kingdom parking coordinator Jeff Clayton said that was not a step employees wanted to take.
That doesn’t mean it’s out of the question, Clayton said.
“Both sides always want to avoid that, so it’s always on the table,” he said. “It’s not in the forefront right now, but it’s always a possibility.”
The current contract extension expires Friday and if a deal isn’t struck by then, it will either have to be extended again or employees would have to work without a contract.
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