Disneyland Resort cast members Thursday night ratified a new contract that will provide an immediate 20 percent raise, with starting wages rising to $15 an hour next year.
Disneyland and its unions had been locked in a bitter PR battle, sparked when the unions commissioned a study that detailed the problems that hourly cast members were facing trying to make ends meet on their Disneyland wages in an increasingly expensive Southern California market, where another housing bubble is driving rents beyond affordability and health care, transportation and child care costs continue to rise.
The growing gap between what hourly workers earn and what they need to survive in America is fueling an emerging political battle across the country, and Disney, with its high-profile brand, made for a attractive target to publicize the issue.
Ultimately, though, all the accusations, news stories and publicity stunts are just tools in a negotiation. In the end, Disney and the unions found a deal that both could agree upon. Cast members get their raises, plus other concessions on benefits and work rules, and Disney gets to boast about providing "one of the highest minimum wages in the country," as it said in the headline of the press release it sent out this evening.
"Minimum rates for hourly cast members represented by Master Services will increase by 20 percent immediately from the current minimum rate of $11 to a new minimum rate of $13.25. Once minimum rates increase to $15 per hour on January 1, 2019, wages will continue to $15.45 in mid-June 2020. The [three year] agreement also includes at least 3 percent increases to wage rates for each year of the contract term for those near or above the minimum rates," Disney's release said.
The Master Services Council is a collection of unions that represent approximately 9,700 cast members at Disneyland park, Disney California Adventure, and Downtown Disney.
California's minimum wage is now $11 an hour for companies with more than 25 employees, with a $1 an hour raise scheduled at the beginning of each year until it reaches $15 an hour on January 1, 2022.Tweet
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