• Disney workers' union calls for 37 percent pay increase; company offers 2.5 percent

    By: Ken Tyndall


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Nearly 40,000 unionized Disney workers have called for a massive 37 percent increase in pay just to make ends meet -- what they’re calling a “living wage.”

    Disney, Orlando’s largest employer with about 74,000 employees, has offered a much smaller 2.5 percent wage increase.

    “The average wage under our proposal will increase from $11.28 to $15.71,” said Unite Here Local 737 President Jeremy Haicken. 

    Disney representatives say the average employee already makes more than $13 an hour when overtime and premiums are taken into account.

    Entry-level employees also make nearly $2 an hour more than the Florida minimum wage, the company argued.

    Disney cast members were not thrilled with the company’s 2.5 percent offer.

    “It’s disappointing,” Magic Kingdom parking hostess Susie Easton said. “And I speak on behalf of all my fellow cast members when I say we deserve more.”

    Bus driver Steven Brainard argued that Disney makes enough money to give employees a sizable bump in pay.

    “It’s sickening how they make millions and they give us little pennies here and there,” he said.

    Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger said she was confident that the two sides could find common ground as negotiations continue on Sept. 19.

    “We’re going to continue to negotiate in good faith with the union to reach a fair and reasonable agreement,” she said.

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