Working in Disney World Means Poverty

As unionized workers in Florida haggle with Disney in hopes of a wage increase, some of them are living precarious economic existences. For the past two decades, motels have increasingly served as home for many Disney World employees, where Cast Members are forced by poverty and other circumstances to live in them for months or even years. For an average Disney World employee who works overtime above her typical 40 hours a week, she can’t save enough to afford to pay for the costs of moving into an apartment on her $11.65 hourly wage - minimum wage in Florida is $8.25, and Disney World’s lowest hourly rate is $10. 

Unite Here 737, a union of service workers, one of six in Orlando representing 38,000 Disney World Cast Members have asked Disney to increase the park’s minimum wage from $10 an hour to $15 in contract negotiations over the past year. Disney offered a proposal, which the union is considering, would increase wages to $15 an hour by 2021 in exchange for scaling back overtime, holiday pay, and employment and scheduling protections agreed upon in past contracts with Disney. In California, an alliance of unions are currently backing a ballot measure in the city of Anaheim to force large employers like Disneyland to pay at least $15 an hour, and increase it until it reaches $18 by 2022.

Companies mentioned (YTD): Disney (-8%)


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