• SeaWorld announces hourly raises for theme park employees

    By: James Tutten , Len Kiese

    Updated:

    ORLANDO, Fla. - More Central Florida theme park employees will soon be getting a bump in pay.

    SeaWorld confirmed Wednesday that employees at its three parks will see their wages increase next week.

    The news comes after Disney and Universal both raised wages for employees.

    It's a ripple effect in pay that has been seen before from Central Florida's theme parks.

    Watch: Dad's last words to me were ‘I love you, too,' George W. Bush says in eulogy

    This latest announcement from SeaWorld will give hourly employees another dollar per hour.

    In the fast-paced world of coasters and theme park competition, there is no doubt tourism is what gives Central Florida a big boost.

    “Tourism is a backbone of our economy and each year we continue to break visitation records," economist at the University of Central Florida Sean Snaith said.

    And behind those numbers, are also the employees behind the scenes who have been demanding better pay.

    Watch: Charges dropped against bus monitor accused of abusing special needs students

    "It's getting more difficult to find workers,” Snaith said. “So in those situations where you have a shortage of labor, there's going to be upward pressure on wages."

    SeaWorld is the latest to announce wage increases for its employees.

    Starting Monday, hourly employees at all three of its parks in Orlando will go from $10 an hour to $11 an hour.

    In November, Disney union members held signs demanding Universal give its employees a pay boost. Shortly after, Universal Orlando announced starting pay for its employees would go up.

    Universal’s wage increases come just months after Disney came to an agreement with labor unions to raise its wages.

    In a statement SeaWorld said about its increase, "We are continually evaluating our pay rates and make adjustments when necessary to remain competitive in the industry."

    Local 362 union president said he believes the Disney agreement set the tone for the other parks, and this is a big win for the hospitality industry in Central Florida.

     

    DOWNLOAD: Free WFTV News & Weather Apps

     

    Not near a TV? Click here to watch WFTV newscasts live

     

    Watch Live: Doppler 9 HD 

    Next Up: