BAY LAKE, Fla. - Negotiations between Walt Disney World and the Service Trades Council Union—which represents 38,000 cast members—are set to begin Monday, with the potential to raise wages.
Union representatives said they are looking to accelerate the speed to which cast members' starting pay rate would reach a “living wage,” which they define as $15 an hour.
At the current rate, cast members would reach that pay rate in 2028, union representatives said.
Representatives also said they plan to ask for cost-of-living raises for longtime cast members and simplified schedules for pay increases.
Ivette Garcia has worked as a housekeeper for five years at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, and says the current pay rate isn’t enough for her to live on.
"I only get paid $323 weekly and it's not enough,” Garcia said.
She said at $10.50 an hour, her current pay rate, her paycheck is disheartening, especially with deductions for health benefits. She said she’s living paycheck to paycheck.
"I think that Disney knows that they've got good employees and that we work really, really hard to make magic for people, you know? So I just expect for us to have our dreams come true, as well,” Garcia said.
She said she doesn’t take her job for granted and she isn’t looking to get rich.
"Us, as housekeepers, that's our job.To help the guests feel the magical moment that they need from Disney,” Garcia said.
Disney representatives said they plan to bring a proposal Monday that’s fair for all of its employees.
"Our strong and comprehensive employment package, which is inclusive of competitive wages, healthcare, paid vacation and sick time, overtime opportunities and multiple discount options, reflects our commitment to our workforce. All of our cast members currently earn nearly $2 an hour more than Florida's minimum wage," the company said in a statement.
© 2018 Cox Media Group.