Disney workers’ union holds 2-day vote on contract proposal

Service Trades Council Union recommends ‘NO’ vote

ORLANDO, Fla. – Tens of thousands of Walt Disney World employees are being urged to vote no Thursday and Friday on a contract proposal that Disney has said would boost the pay of all non-tipped cast members represented by the Service Trades Council Union (STCU) to at least $20 per hour by 2026.

Union leaders have informed members to reject the offer, saying the promised $1-per-year raise most workers face in the deal is not enough to keep up with the rising cost of living in Central Florida.

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“A dollar does not afford Disney workers with the ability to keep up with the skyrocketing rent increases and one dollar does not allow Disney workers the ability to continue to purchase basic necessities like food, gas and utilities where the prices have soared,” said Matt Hollis, president of STCU, a six-union group which represents over 40,000 workers.

According to a Disney spokesperson, the company views its contract offer as strong proposal that guarantees raises and promises to keep full-time STCU-represented cast members making at least $5 above Florida’s minimum wage, which itself is set to reach $15 an hour in 2026.

Disney’s offer also includes a minimum of $700 in retroactive increased pay dating back to October 2022 for cast members working 40 hours per week, immediate $20-an-hour salaries for housekeepers and bus drivers, immediate $20-25 staring hourly wages for those in culinary roles and the addition of a 401K option to the current pension, the company said in a statement.

The STCU wants at least an $18 minimum wage, stating in a 2022 report that payment any lower would be unlivable for a single adults trying to survive in Central Florida’s tourism industry, even with no dependents.

“A ‘no’ vote will show that Disney workers do not accept a $1 raise and want to keep pushing for higher raises for everyone,” the STCU said in January. “...Evidence makes the case for an immediate $18 wage standard.”

Sean Hopper, an attractions coordinator at Walt Disney World, voted no on Thursday.

“I love what I get to do, but there’s a point where it becomes unsustainable. That $1-a-year in today’s world almost means nothing. Gas went up 80 cents in the last two weeks,” Hopper explained.

Roselyn Rodriguez, a union member, said she had to move from Orlando to Davenport because rent is too high, all while raising three kids.

“We are hoping the company can hear our voice that one dollar is not enough because of the economy, the inflation; one dollar, we can’t do anything with it,” Rodriguez said.

The six-union STCU is unified in its recommendation against the proposed contract as leaders seek to return to the bargaining table.

“The union has been clear from our very first bargaining session that a dollar in the first year is not enough,” Hollis said.

Voting began at select STCU locations at 7 a.m. Thursday and runs until 7 p.m.; on Friday, voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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About the Authors:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.

Ezzy Castro is a multimedia journalist on News 6's morning team who has a passion for telling the stories of the people in the Central Florida community. Ezzy worked at WFOR CBS4 in South Florida and KBMT in Beaumont, Texas, where she covered Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Being from Miami, Ezzy loves Cuban coffee and croquetas!