Union workers say no to Disney's wage proposition
- Union members at Walt Disney World turned down the amusement park conglomerate's proposal to raise their wages by 50 cents an hour, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Workers argued that the proposed raise was less than they deserved. Nearly all members of the Service Trades Council Union (93%) rejected the two-year contract, casting 10,000 ballots in an historic vote. The union represents 36,000 Disney workers.
- The Sentinel says that under Disney's proposal, full- and part-time workers would have received a 3% or 50-cent per hour wage increase, whichever is largest. The increase would have been retroactive to Sept. 24 and extended to September 2018. The proposal also included a one-time $200 bonus.
- Union members had pushed for a $15 an hour minimum wage increase, which it said the company could afford after bringing in $1.6 billion in revenues from its theme park. But Disney rejected the idea, arguing that the company was already paying workers about $2 more than Florida's minimum wage of $8.10 an hour. Union leaders vowed to go back to the negotiation table and push for more money.
The conservative political wave that's dominated state governments has somewhat weakened unions during the past few decades. But a push back over low wages in a job seeker's market could resurrect labor's power, especially concerning wages and benefits.
Already, retailers across the nation have found that they need to boost wages to compete for and retain talent, especially with unemployment at deep lows in some parts of the country. Wage growth, generally, has somewhat stalled nationwide in the past few years, forcing some employers to reconsider compensation plans more widely.
The successful passage of the GOP tax plan also has led some employers to announce wage increases and bonuses as support for the corporate tax cuts present in the plan. But whether that will extend to continuous wage increases won't be clear for some time.