For immediate release
March 19, 2007
(407) 851-0626, ext. 15
ORLANDO, March 19 – A study released today, “Walt Disney World’s Hidden Costs,” finds that recent changes in pay practices at Walt Disney World have negatively impacted Orange and Osceola counties. Co-authors Bruce Nissen, Director of the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy, and Eric Schutz, a Rollins College Economics Professor, joined Disney workers and leaders of the Service Trades Council to release the report’s findings.
Nissen and Schutz argue that by instituting a two-tier wage system, Walt Disney World, the largest employer in the Orlando area, has not only hurt its service workers but also cost the area in goods and services production in 2006.
Among the report’s key findings:
- As a result of the company’s progressive lowering of wages in recent years, the Walt Disney payroll was $19.39 million lower than it otherwise would have been by 2006;
- Pay levels declined 12.2% for the more recently-hired workers;
- As a consequence, Orange and Osceola counties lost $23.4 million in goods and services production in 2006;
- 178 jobs were also lost to Orange and Osceola counties due to this wage reduction. This indirect hit meant an additional loss in payroll of $5.24 million in 2006;
- If Disney continues this trend, these losses will grow in future years, as more senior workers retire or leave the company and new hires replace them.
The full text of their analysis can be found at www.WeAreDisney.info.
Morty Miller, President of the Service Trades Council and of UNITE HERE Local 362, commented that “Walt Disney World, for decades had a legacy of creating good service sector jobs that provided tens of thousands of workers with a path to the middle class. It also created a standard for other service sector employers to match in surrounding communities. Since late 1998, however, wages have become progressive worse at Walt Disney World.”
“Reversing this downward trend will be an issue in this year’s contract negotiations,” Miller said.
The Service Trades Council is a coalition of six union locals which represent 29,000 full- and part-time employees at Walt Disney World’s parks and resorts.
The Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy (RISEP) is a Miami-based research center affiliated with Florida International University. RISEP conducts high-quality, empirical research examining issues of concern to low- and moderate-income workers and their families in Southeast Florida and the State of Florida.