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Disney workers prepared to reject company's latest contract proposal

FILE - People visit Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, on April 18, 2022. The Walt Disney Co. announced Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023, that they would be making several changes at its domestic theme parks in order to improve public perception of its business. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey, File)
Ted Shaffrey/AP
FILE - People visit Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, on April 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey, File)

Thousands of Disney workers are prepared to reject the company’s latest contract proposal that would leave most with $1 a year raises.

The workers are represented by six unions in the Central Florida area.

Eric Clinton President of Unite Here! Local 362 says workers are only willing to negotiate for a living wage that takes into account the local affordable housing crisis.

Clinton said many workers have to live in their cars, work several jobs and forgo taking medications because wages are so low compared to the cost of living.

“You know, when inflation is what it was, and still is today for Disney to offer a wage increase that doesn't even address that that falls short of addressing that," said Clinton. "That’s a pay cut.” 

Animal Kingdom worker Annie Sierra says she can barely afford to raise her kids and pay for her chemo medicine on the wages she makes at the parks.

Sierra said she wants a fair living wage that takes her health and wellbeing into consideration.

“I just recently finished chemo treatment, and I had to skip medications, I had to skip meals just to make sure that my kids had food in their stomach and a roof over their head," said Sierra. "While also paying for chemo treatment for my daughter, who is also a cast member at Disney.”

Disney spokesperson Andrea Finger says 46 percent of workers will actually get a raise that’s more than a $1 a year.

In a statement she said, "This very strong offer provides our cast members with a nearly 10% average increase immediately and guaranteed raises for the next four years with every single non-tipped cast member promised at least a $20 starting wage during the contract, and the majority seeing a 33% to 46% increase during that time.”

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.
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