Disney union workers say company is holding bonuses hostage

By Mark Lehman - Reporter

Union workers at Walt Disney World Resort held a protest Thursday to speak out about a bonus they say was promised by their employer.

The dozens of employees representing Unite Here Central Florida demonstrated outside the entrance to the resort off Hotel Plaza Boulevard.

"We need our bonus and we need a raise," Port Orleans housekeeper Chantal Joseph said.

In January, Disney announced 125,000 U.S. employees would receive a $1,000 tax cut bonus, which would be paid in installments beginning Thursday.

Union workers with the company said their bonus is being withheld because the union is in the midst of contract negotiations with Disney.

"I think that's discrimination because you told (us) you was going to give it to everybody," Joseph said.
Workers said the unwelcome news came after the union voted against Disney's most recent offer of a 50-cent-an-hour raise over two years.

Some said they feel like the company is trying to force them to take the offer.

"We work too hard for 50 cents, so we need a bigger raise," Joseph said.

In a recent statement, Disney said bonuses are subject to the negotiation process.

“Our offer to increase pay by 6-10 percent over the next two years reflects our ongoing commitment to our Cast Members," spokeswoman Andrea Finger said. "Wages and bonuses are part of our negotiation process. We will continue to meet with the union to move toward a ratified agreement.”

A coalition of unions at Disney has filed a federal unfair labor practice complaint against the company.
Union workers said no future dates have been set for contract negotiations.

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