Walt Disney World Cast Member Union Wins Right to Strike

After disappointing results from its organized Cast Member protest on November 30, the Service Trades Council Union (STCU) will lead another protest in order to renegotiate wage contracts with representatives of the Walt Disney World Resort.

Last month, six unions representing Cast Members across Disney’s Orlando theme parks came together to take action against their low paychecks and petition the Walt Disney Company for salary increases that would enable them to make a living wage. Unfortunately, the two parties could not reach an agreement, and once again, Disney has opted to extend the Cast Members current contracts past their October expiration.

Katie Rice on Twitter: "Workers are chanting, “Disney workers need a  raise,” while holding signs describing difficulties affording health care,  formula for their children and rising rents. In bargaining, Disney proposed  to

Credit: Katie Rice

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As a result, the STCU has announced plans to resume negotiations via Cast Member protests as early as January of next year. Originally, Cast Members “asked Disney to present… their best offer” during their next meeting this January, citing a need for a more immediate, rather than Disney’s proposed gradual raise of $1/hr annually.

However, should the offer not meet the unions’ standards, in just a few weeks, the six unions will assemble to demand a minimum increase to $18 an hour, effective immediately, with an eventual goal of $20 per hour. Although like Disney claims in a Company statement, it has “presented a strong and meaningful offer that far outpaces Florida minimum wage,” a report released by Local 737 proves even this amount is far below what is necessary for survival in the Orange County area.

disney world cast member strike

Credit: Orlando Hotel and Restaurant Workers Movement

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For example, they found that a true living wage would be $18.19/hr “for an adult with no dependents,” and $23.91/hr for a two parent household with two children. Of course, this means each Cast Member, even working full time, would be approximately $1,533 under the minimum needed to secure basic necessities each month.

Now, the Local 737 have organized a meeting for union members at the Wyndham at 3011 Maingate Lane, Kissimmee on January 9 and 10, 2023. Furthermore, in November Local 737 (which represents housekeeping and food service workers in hospitality) terminated a contract with another contractor, Sodexo, at the Orange County Convention Center that prohibited striking.

Disney 50th Finale Merchandise-Hoodie

Credit: Disney

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Plus, Sodexo workers all voted to authorize a strike once the contract passed, and claim to be “in a strong position to win” this Janauary. Currently, Disney Park contracts prevent a Disney employee from organizing a strike.

While the strike only applies to union members working under Sodexo, and not Disney workers, it raises a warning to the House of Mouse as they enter a pivotal fiscal year, closing out Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary and entering the Company’s 100th Anniversary. Potentially, union Cast Members from 737 or any of the other five STCU groups could take a similar stance, operating without a contract in order to strike in response to Disney World’s unwillingness to comply to their needs in November.

DisneyTips will update this story when 737 releases the results of its January negotiations with Disney Parks and Resorts.

About Spencer Beck

Spencer is a lifelong lover of theme parks, princesses, and Disney history that recently relocated to Northern California. She completed her undergraduate studies at UCLA, where she was the founder and first president of the campus Disney Club. A former Cast Member still mourning the loss of the Disney Store, she now haunts the halls of the Walt Disney Family Museum, and shares her opinions with anyone who will listen @pinknpurble everywhere.