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Disney's Park Employees Just Won a Huge Victory Thanks to Their Union

After a long public campaign, employees of Disney World and Disneyland will get a minimum wage of $15 an hour.
Protesters outside Disneyland in June. Photo by Jeff Gritchen/Orange County Register via Getty

Late Friday night, Walt Disney World in Florida finally reached a deal with negotiators for thousands of park and resort workers to raise minimum wage to $15 by 2021, a move that would increase starting wages by 50 percent, according to CNN. The deal will also give workers an extra 50 cents an hour or 3 percent (whichever is larger) for hours worked since September 2017.

Union membership has yet to vote on the proposal, which would also give them bonuses of $1,000 they were promised after the recent tax cut. But it's expected to "be a resounding yes," Eric Clinton, president of Unite Here Local 362, told CNN.


This is a huge win for the tens of thousands of workers at the "happiest place on earth" who have struggled to make ends meet on meager salaries, with some of them stuck living in cheap motels because they can't afford the cost of moving to an apartment. Both Disney World and Disneyland employees have faced situations where they've struggled to afford food and shelter. One Disneyland employee told VICE earlier this year she had to rely on extra dollars a month from recycling bottles and cans to meet her medical co-pays. Unions at both parks have waged an aggressive and public campaign to get management to raise wages, and both campaigns seem to have succeeded.

This Disney World agreement comes on the tail of the July announcement that Disneyland in California would also be raising its wages. According to the LA Times, nearly 75 percent of unionized workers voted in favor of an offer that would raise the minimum hourly rate from $11 to $13.25 immediately, and to $15 in January. This is a landmark decision—Disneyland is the largest employer in Orange County, and contract would apply to workers at Disneyland, California Adventure Park, and a nearby shopping district.

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