“Magic Doesn’t Pay the Bills”: Walt Disney World Workers March Near Park, Demand “A Fair Wage”

A large group of Walt Disney World employees marched near — but not on — Walt Disney World property today, holding signs that said “Magic Doesn’t Pay The Bills” and chanting “need a raise.”

The Services Trades Council Union (STCU), which is a coalition of six unions representing close to 42,000 WDW cast members, is negotiating a new contract with Disney this week. The old agreement , which expired October 1, raised the minimum wage from $10 to $15. Among the group’s concerns this time are wage increases, healthcare costs, child bonding leave, retirement, and premiums.

Earlier this month, the union asked for a minimum wage of $18 an hour in the first year of a new contract. Disney, for its part, has said it proposed “a path to $20 an hour for starting wages.” According to Orlando Sentinel reporter Katie Rice, Disney’s proposal was to raise the minimum wage $1 a year until it reaches $20, meaning five years hence.

Unite Local 737, which is one of the unions whose members marched today, recently released the results of a survey of its members in which 69% said that, at some point in the past year they didn’t have money to pay their rent or their mortgage, 62% said they had less than $100 in the bank and just below 50% said they had skipped meals because they couldn’t afford the price of food. Nearly 40% of the members said they worried about becoming homeless. According to one report, the average rent in the metro Orlando area rose 23% in the past year.

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Deadline reached out to Walt Disney World and will add any comment received.

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