Only higher wages will solve labor troubles at Disneyland2006-01-10
By Robert Niles: I have said it before, and now I will say it again. If you are running a theme park -- or any business -- and you want your employees to show up for work more often, to show up on time more often and to provide a higher level of service than employees for your competition, there is one, sure-fire, astonishingly easy way to do it.
Pay them more money.
Because if you pay your employees the prevailing local wage for entry-level service employees you're going to get average, entry-level service-employee quality from them. And if you pay less, as Disneyland does, you're going to have absent, indifferent employees across the front line of your organization.
Al Lutz today reports rumors of a possible strike by attractions employees at Disneyland in March. Such talk is to be expected during contract negotiations. If a union fails to convince management that employees will walk, it is leaving money on the table as management has less incentive to make concessions to avoid that strike.
Lutz reports that the sticking point in this negotiation is Disney management's desire to gut existing rules that allow some employees to draw full-timers' benefits without doing full-time work. Of course, the union is entitled to negotiate any issue it wants. But Disney could solve its problems with high absentee rates and employee turnover without having to negotiate new rules with its unions.
Just jack up its wage scale a couple bucks an hour.
Trust me, if Disney were paying $12 an hour to start, employees wouldn't think about skipping shifts for anything less than debilitating illnesses. And for those who did kiss off their shifts, a long line of dependable applicants would be queued up to take their places.
And if the union was thinking ahead, it would give Disney what it wants, sacrificing its no-show members... but only in exchange for a massive wage increase, across the board, for those hourly workers who remain. (Remember, more money in the paycheck means more money for dues.)
A great service business needs great service. And money buys great service. Period. If Disney and its union want to waste breath talking about control, flexibility and respect -- fine, whatever.
But if Disney wants better employees, and the union wants a better deal for its members, the solution is achingly clear.
Show them the money.
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