For immediate release
December 20, 2017
As two days of worker voting concluded, tonight UNITE HERE celebrates Disney Orlando workers’ resounding defeat of contract that would keep workers in poverty
Orlando, Florida – Tonight after months of contract negotiations and two days of voting, workers at Disneyworld rejected the contract offered by Disney with a historic 93.4% no vote. This stunning rejection of the contract was the highest participation vote ever for Disney Orlando. Workers decided that the contract inadequately addressed poverty wages paid by Disney, and offered wages that would have kept employees at Disney – easily the largest employer in Central Florida – in poverty.
“Tonight Disney workers stood together and collectively drew a line in the sand with one of the most profitable companies in the world,” said D. Taylor, President of UNITE HERE. “UNITE HERE stands with our union members at Disneyworld who are serving their country by refusing to accept poverty pay and demanding that Disney wages no longer force workers to choose between paying their rent, picking up their prescription medicines, or buying groceries for the week. For too long Disney has gotten away with paying wages that keep workers under the poverty line in Central Florida, and force wages down across the entire region. UNITE HERE is proud of the courage of the 93.4% of Disney workers who are no longer willing to accept these low standards and are willing to fight for better.” UNITE HERE is the largest union at Disney Orlando.
Negotiations with Disney in Orlando began in the summer, and have gone on with no wage offer significant enough to bring all Disney workers above the poverty line. Currently, many full time Disney workers in Orlando make around $25,000 annually even with overtime hours and holiday shifts included. Pay is so poor at Disney World that many workers face homelessness or housing and food insecurity, as part of a homelessness crisis plaguing the region and exacerbated by the largest regional employer lowering wage standards across Central Florida.
This resounding rejection of Disney’s contract offer will force the employer back to the table to continue negotiating with union workers – this time with a mandate from a clearly unified and agitated workforce. There are 38,000 bargaining unit Disney workers in Orlando.