For immediate release
March 31, 2023
Labor unions prove to be the answer for Florida workers
Today the Services Trades Council Union (STCU) representing 45,000 theme park workers voted to ratify a historic agreement with Walt Disney World.
Union members voted by 97% to ratify the contract. Under this agreement, every current theme park worker in the union will receive a raise between $5.50 and $8.60 by the end of the contract, with the first $3 in raises arriving this year.
Florida workers have been forgotten by the government and their companies. Today, union workers set a new standard for the tourism industry and gave proof that standing together in solidarity works — looking out for each other, works. This win was only possible because union workers from all backgrounds came together, breaking through cultural and language barriers, and fought for a better future for themselves and their families.
In February, nearly 14,000 union members voted to reject Disney’s previous offer, where Disney had offered only a $17 minimum in 2023. Hotel and theme park workers from every union department voted to reject that offer and keep fighting for every union member to get $18 this year and full back pay. The contract ratified today delivers on those goals for every worker.
The six STCU affiliates – IATSE Local 631, IBT Local 385, TCU Local 1908, UFCW Local 1625, UNITE HERE Local 362, and UNITE HERE Local 737 – were unanimous in their support for this agreement.
Diego Henry, trainer and relief coordinator at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and member of UNITE HERE Local 362, said: “Disney workers won a raise and it’s about time! Currently I make $15.00 an hour after working for Disney for 10 years. Through this agreement I’ll earn a $3.00 raise by the end of the year. This’ll help me clan up my debt and get closer to buying a house – that’s always been my dream. Winning this raise is an example that we can do so much more together than we could ever do apart.”
“Simply true magic… I heard from one Cast Member today who was recently evicted from his home, and he thanked the union because his backpay check will help him afford a deposit on another place to stay,” said Yuri Mena, TCU 1908
Tiara Moton, a Cook 1 (union line cook) at Disney’s Be Our Guest and member of UNITE HERE Local 737, said: “This raise is going to get me another $4.10 right away and retroactive pay. As a single mom, it’s going to let me finally catch up and even get ahead. My daughter turned 3 in November, and I haven’t been able to celebrate her the way she deserves, but now I’m going to be able to do something special for her. I voted no last month because even though we’d already won a raise for me, I wasn’t going to vote yes until everyone could live comfortably and get a living wage. Nobody should work as hard as we do just to keep struggling, and I’m proud that we stood together to make it happen for every union worker.”
“I think I can speak for all of us when I say we can breathe a little easier now,” said Jonathan Pulliam, Teamsters 385
“Paid child bonding was only a dream when I was raising children. Getting these raises now will be such a gift for so many people,” said Maria Cornell UFCW 1625
For workers in job classifications that currently earn the minimum of $15, minimum hourly rates will increase to $16 effective 10/1/2022, with full back pay to all eligible union workers, then increase again to $17 as of today’s ratification vote and $18 this December. Their total raise will be $5.50 in 5 years, with the first $3 coming by December 2023.
Workers in many classifications will receive additional increases, with the first raises retroactive to October 2022:
- Union Housekeepers: increase from $17 to $20 immediately, ending at $24 in Oct. 2026
- Union Dishwashers: increase from $15 to $18 immediately, ending at $22 in Oct. 2026
- Cook 2 (union prep cook): increase from $16.40 to $20 immediately, ending at $24 in Oct. 2026
- Cook 1 (union line cook): increase from $19 to $23.10 immediately, ending at $27.10 in Oct. 2026
- Union Chef Assistant: increase from $20 to $24.60 immediately, ending at $28.60 in Oct. 2026
- Union Bus Drivers: increase from $18 to $20.50 immediately, ending at $24.50 in Oct. 2026
The agreement also provides eight weeks of paid Child Bonding Leave, which is a benefit that does not exist in the current contract and offers increases to many hourly premiums. The minimum rate for current workers will increase to $20.50 by October 2026. The minimum rate for workers hired after December 3, 2023, will increase to $20 by October 2026.