A large group of Walt Disney World workers and their allies looking to be in the hundreds marched outside park facilities earlier today chanting, “Walt Disney workers need a raise!” The event was dubbed the “Rally for a Raise” bu organizers.
Many of the protesters come from a coalition of six unions representing close to 42,000 WDW cast members known as the Services Trades Council Union (STCU). The coalition and Disney have been negotiating a new contract since the old one expired last October 1.
In November, the union asked for a minimum wage of $18 an hour in the first year of a new contract. Disney, for its part, has said it proposed “a path to $20 an hour for starting wages.” According to Orlando Sentinel reporter Katie Rice, Disney’s proposal was to raise the minimum wage $1 a year until it reaches $20, meaning three years hence. Union members reportedly rejected that proposal last month by a margin of 96%.
The two entities are still at loggerheads, with negotiations reportedly set to resume again next Thursday, according to STCU President Matt Hollis.
The picketers held signs that said, among other things, “Magic doesn’t pay the bills,” “I Need to Afford a Wheelchair Vehicle,” and “I represent disabled workers who need a proper living wage.” Some of those present carried American flags, one carried a Puerto Rican flag, others — including someone dressed like a Mandalorian — carried rainbow LGBTQ Pride flags while others held signs with the rainbow on them.
The last is, of course, important given Disney’s clash last year with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over the state’s so-called Don’t Say Gay legislation and the Governor’s recent moves to seize control over the WDW-run Reedy Creek Improvement District in which the Orlando parks sit.
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