The Disneyland Resort and the Master Services Council – the union representing approximately one-third of Disneyland Resort employees – announced union members have voted to approve a contract that will boost members’ minimum wage to $15 per hour by January 1, 2019.
Under the terms of the agreement, Master Services Council members – 9,700 cast members employed in eateries and retail shops, and as ride operators and maintenance workers – will receive an immediate 20% increase in their hourly minimum wage from the current $11 to $13.25. On January 1, 2019, that will increase to $15 per hour – three years prior to state minimum wage increase to that level. The minimum wage for Master Services Council members will increase again to $15.45 an hour by mid-June of 2020.
The agreement also stipulates a wage rate increase of at least 3% annually for those near or above the minimum rates.
All in all, 9,700 Disneyland Resort cast members will get a 40% pay increase within two years of the agreement. They will be earning one of the highest minimum wages in the nation and full-time cast members currently making $11 per hour would earn another $8,000 annually.
• Teamsters Automotive, Industrial, Theme Park, Service Sector, and Allied Workers, Local 495
• United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 324 (UFCW)
• Service Employees International Union – United Service Workers West (SEIU-USWW)
• Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers International Union, Local 83
“Our largest employer, Disney, and almost one-third of Disney’s workers, through a coalition of unions, found common ground today in a new wage agreement,” said OCBC CEO Lucy Dunn. “Three years ahead of California’s new law, Disney will provide a $15 starting hourly wage.”
Contrary to Disney-creates-poverty propaganda emanating from the militant UNITE-HERE Local 11 and its political allies like Councilman Jose F. Moreno, the Disneyland Resort has a wide-open door for internal advancement and has committed huges sums for employee training and education.
During the last five years, 89% of entry-level leadership roles in parks operations have been filled by hourly cast members. In light of that reality, when the same half-dozen union activists complain about still making minimum wage after years of working at the park – the reasonable response is to ask why they haven’t taken advantage of the many opportunities for internal advancement that obviously exist.
Disneyland is offering an education investment program for both full-time and part-time hourly cast members; the first-year investment is $50 million followed by an annual investment of up to $25 million. This program starts this this fall and provides tuition assistance and other support for cast members looking to earn a college degree or enter vocational training. That’s a pathway up the ladder of upward mobility, not the “poverty wages”about which Berniecrats like to bray.
The lesson? For one, unions representing Disneyland Resort cast members can obtain a mutually agreeable contract via the bargaining table. This begs the question of why UNITE-HERE Local 11 and its allied unions are unable to do so, and instead are betting huge amounts of their members’ dues money on an uncertain election gamble to obtain at the ballot box what the Master Services Council managed to secure at the bargaining table. Hard-working members of UNITE-HERE Local 11 could be forgiven for wondering why they are forking over $60-plus a month in dues to a union that has failed spectacularly as their bargaining agent.
One of Orange County’s most prominent union executives once told me that the art of being a union leader was staying ahead of the membership. When UNITE-HERE Local 11 members see fellow cast members from other unions getting a cumulative 40% wage hike while their own union has a lousy track record representing them at the bargaining table, they have to wonder if paying nearly $800 a year in dues their union leaders to harangue the Anaheim City Council and score media opportunities with Bernie Sanders is the best use of their dues money. .