More than 30,000 Disney World employees will get raises of about $3 per hour in 2023, with most seeing pay increases of more than a third by 2026, as Disney theme parks have taken in billions in profits lately, according to CNN.
A new tentative labor deal struck between Disney World and a group of unions will garner a 37% raise for employees in just three years.
Employees include Disney character performers, drivers, restaurant staff, front desk, and hotel workers.
Union members will have their pay increased by $1 per hour retroactively back to October 2022, then another dollar raise once the agreement is ratified, and then another dollar in December 2023.
The 32,000 hourly workers would then get an additional 50 cents in December 2024, then another dollar raise in 2025 and 2026.
“The company finally heard voices of the cast members,” said Matt Hollis, the president of the Service Trades Council Union, which represents all the unions negotiating with Disney.
Despite the theme park offering an initial deal that was rejected by a 96% vote, a 50-cent increase in wages and front-loading the deal for immediate raises in the same year apparently made the difference.
“I can’t help but believe the overwhelming result of the previous vote played a role in reaching this agreement. I think an overwhelming majority of cast members will see this as a win,” Hollis added.
Jeff Vahle, president of Disney World Resort, boasted about how “Disney is proud to offer an industry-leading employment package that includes comprehensive benefits and affordable medical coverage, in addition to 100 percent paid tuition for higher education for hourly employees through the Disney Aspire program.”
In February 2023, Disney lost its special tax status in the state of Florida that allowed the park and company to govern themselves, a move that was swiftly followed by 7,000 job cuts amid a restructuring of the premium streaming service Disney+.
That same month, 2,300 employees signed a petition resisting a return to in-office work, citing that it would “cause long-term harm.”
Despite profit issues in the media portion of Disney, which lost $10 million in the previous fiscal quarter, Disney’s theme parks, experiences, and products divisions saw a $3 billion profit, with attendance at U.S. parks up 11% from the previous year.
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