Disney World Union takes offensive

After it’s members rejected a Disney proposal that would have resulted in a choice of either less healthcare coverage or lower wages, the Services Trade Council, which represents 20,000 of the 60,000 WDW cast members, has come out with a movie that explains the trap cast members are in. MouseTrapped 2010 had a showing earlier tonight, but as far as I can tell, it’s not on the net. However, this trailer is:

With federal mediated negotiations scheduled to begin soon, the union wants Disney to know it means business.

See also this Reuter’s story on the negotiations.

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22 Responses to Disney World Union takes offensive

  1. Joseph Kastner says:

    Having worked there personally, I can tell you this is bull.

  2. William says:

    I don’t have a side as I don’t work at Disney, but the trailer makes me think less of the union for two reasons:
    1) Multiple typos and grammatical errors in their text and
    2) Using a Disney-produced video of the Magic Kingdom in their trailer probably infringes on copyright (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyZfIlxwsfI)

  3. Edwin Sotomayor says:

    Having worked there too… I can tell you that Disney could always do better for their employees. They got rid off 1,500 employees several yrs back then to turn around and invest approx 5 billiion dollars for Marvel… They gave Micheal Eisner a hefty salary + multimillion bonuses and they are doing the same thing for Bob Iger… To bad that Comcast was not succesful with the hostile bit to purchase Disney back in 2004-2005. Its time for a change!

  4. John Davis says:

    @Joseph Kastner: can you be a bit more specific as to *which part* is bull? I’m genuinely interested, given your experience.

  5. chris says:

    John, do you agree with Joseph?

  6. mchugh says:

    My grampa got up at 3am, walked 6 miles a day back and forth to work in the rain and if he showed up wet he was sent home without pay for the day. Looks like your not getting your dues worth either.

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  8. John Frost says:

    My personal view is that more Disney CMs should be paid a living wage for their jobs. Who wants a ride dispatcher worrying about where their next plate of food will come from or how to pay the rent when they should be focused on guest safety. But that doesn’t mean every position should be a career path.

    To those who say that if you don’t like it quit. A) organizing for better wages and benefits is a perfectly legit option and pretty much the American way B) Disney actually has such a hard time hiring qualified staff, even in these days of high unemployment, that they have to recruit overseas. I’d rather Disney pay locals a better wage and attract some better candidates than import labor from elsewhere.

  9. TJ says:

    They don’t actually *have* to recruit overseas. They choose to do so for many of the positions because, for instance, in the world showcase of Epcot it would be inauthentic to have the France pavilion staffed by a bunch of people from Paris, Texas and many of those employees are college students who are part of the International College Program. Disney is actually relying more and more heavily on these college students because they can pay them even less and they don’t have to give them health benefits or anything like that.

    I’d be interested to see what would happen if the Disney employees went on strike. Would the whole place just fall apart?

  10. John says:

    I don’t work for Disney but the company I work for is having to make some hard decisions about laying off or cutting benefits. A lot of companies are. The economy is in bad shape right now and companies have to do some things people don’t like to stay successful. Lean and mean is how they have to run otherwise their competition, who is doing the same thing, will take them out. Right now it’s most important to keep your customers and Disney has already raised park prices and made compromises on park maintenance and expansion. I don’t see why the employees can’t “take one for the team” as well. 2 Million people are going to lose their unemployment checks this month. I’m sure ANY of them would be more than happy to work at Disney for lower wages or decreased benefits. You have to take all this in the context of the times we live in and stop making it look like Disney is this evil company in the midst of an economic boom.

  11. Susan says:

    I have to ask, with the number of employees, could they not negotiate a good deal for insurance?

  12. Katie says:

    Being a college-age person from Michigan who is currently a seasonal worker at Disney, and just finished a college program, I don’t know if I’m super qualified to comment, but I’ll just put it out there.

    I know a lot of my full-time friends are upset at their pay (one just found out he’s eligible for food stamps despite working at least 40 hours a week). In fact, quite a few went to go see this movie the other day. I do think that pay should be increased with inflation, and that people should be earning a living wage. I know that for many people, this is their job. This isn’t something they’re doing while they’re at school, this is how they pay rent, mortgages, food, insurance, and other personal things.

    On the other hand, to me, earning $8.70/hr is amazing. Like I said, I come from Michigan, where there are no jobs, and the ones that young people can get provide almost nothing. I’ve worked for a supermarket where I was scheduled maybe 18 hours a week (no more than 6 hours a day, usually) for just over $7/hr. The most steady job I’ve had in my hometown was at our local Cedar Fair-owned amusement park, where I would work at least 10 hour days, at $7.50, with one 30 minute break, and no overtime (it’s a seasonal job). So, to work at Disney, where I get paid over $8 an hour, and I can get paid overtime (I was begrudgingly allowed to work a half hour over my shift once to finish my work at the supermarket, and the older lady I worked with would regularly punch out and come back to finish working so she wouldn’t get in trouble), I’m ecstatic.

    So when I hear full-timers complaining, especially the ones that just complain for the sake of doing so, I have little sympathy. I’ve worked with people at Disney who complain that they didn’t get a long (over the regular 15 min) break, and say how they’d have nothing without the union, I think of the 80 year old man working at my local amusement park who lost his job at the secretary of state, and doesn’t have anywhere to go once the summer ends. I always want to remind cast members that they work at an amusement park. If they want more pay, they should be looking elsewhere.

  13. JOSH says:

    The national minimum wage in the UK works out at about $9 dollars, it seems criminal that big business can pay just $8 dollars an hour. A company such as Disney deserves to do better and not exploit its workers.

  14. Amphigorey says:

    The economy may be in bad shape, but Disney is doing just fine. They may not have as much growth as they would like, but they are in no danger of needing to do cuts or anything drastic. They should absolutely be paying their workers more. What Disney pays its Cast Members is criminally low, especially when you consider how hard most CMs work, and how much Disney demands of its low-wage workers.

    It would be to their benefit to pay higher wages, because they would be able to attract higher quality and more dedicated employees. We hear this all the time when companies claim that they have to pay their CEOs astronomically high salaries – why does the same argument not apply to frontline CMs?

    The economy in central Florida is hugely stratified and hugely dependent on the service and tourism sector. Disney could give an enormous boost to the economy just by a wage increase that keeps up with the cost of living. They SHOULD do more than a cost of living increase if they want to maintain their standards as the world’s best resort, of course.

    To the previous poster, Disney CMs have been “taking one for the team” for YEARS. It’s well past time the team acknowledged their hard work by paying them what they are worth instead of fighting tooth and nail for every tiny wage increase.

  15. Chris Wade says:

    I actually think that it would be irresponsible for Disney to pay their workers more, they need to ensure the future of the company, this might mean making cuts now to prevent problems 6+ months down the road.

    Wage increases should NEVER be automatic, they should be based solely on performance.

  16. Amphigorey says:

    Chris, the increases Disney has given for many years have been _below the rate of inflation_. That means that Cast Members now are being paid less in real dollars than they were ten years ago. That is not okay.

  17. ChannelIslandsAl says:

    Things are tough now because we have an elite class that owns our government and gets subsidies by way of tax breaks, offshore accounting, and bail-outs. These people and corporations, like Disney, are making incredible profits and indulging themselves in multi-million dollar bonuses.
    There is no excuse for this awful and distasteful disparity between the rich and the working people.
    I feel guilt and shame that I attended Disney’s parks in southern California twice this year. I will not be visiting these parks again until this situation is resolved and these employees are paid a fair and reasonable wage.

  18. TJ says:

    Take one for the team? Did you watch the video at all? Everyone working there is already taking one for the team. Everyone working at Disney is getting paid pitifully low wages, even if they have worked there for a long time. I know someone who’s worked there for 10 years and I still don’t think he’s making over $10 an hour.

    And to the person who said they’re not visiting the parks again until this is resolved, 1. that really won’t solve anything and 2. I have a feeling you’d have to wait a very long time.

  19. gordan says:

    I’ve worked for Disney for 2 and half years. I could go to Publix and day one make more money per hour than I make now. I would like to think my job that includes overseeing the safety of guests on the attractions is worth more than a guy who bags groceries. I want to work for Disney, but this is just wrong.

  20. Nick says:

    @William

    A supporter of Disney ignoring fair use? No surprises here. Fair Use is a thing. Look it up.

  21. I.S. says:

    @Amphigorey

    Actually, the best way to attract high-quality workers would be to de-unionize. The union keeps workers earnings attached to seniority rather than performance. The goal, for many people, then, becomes not to get fired, rather than to do a great job and be justly rewarded. Incentives are powerful, and unions provide the wrong type of incentives. For mediocre employees, sure, it’s a wash. For bad employees who would be getting paid minimum wage and not a cent more under a performance-based system, it’s a gold mine. It’s the high performers who are hindered in a unionized scenario.

  22. Joe mac says:

    Disney, Wal-Mart and all the others that are profiteering from the economic woes of this country are actually driving us into a deeper recession and postponing recovery… for profit.

    To all of you that think this is OK, I want to ask… Is this a race to the bottom? How low should wages go? When we are ALL paupers that can’t pay our student loans back, let alone our mortgage, insurance, medical bills and grocery bill… will we than be at the rate of pay that makes you say; “OK, now your grateful for what you have.”

    All the while our Employer post multi-billion dollar profits with CEO salaries in the millions…. I would like to know where the bottom is, please.

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