Walt Disney World might now be a place where the workers’ dreams really do come true. After months of negotiations, the theme park and resort struck a deal with six unions to start paying employees $15 per hour by 2021, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
The deal still awaits union members’ approval, but it would slowly increase the hourly minimum wage for Disney World staff from $10 to $15 by October 2021. Nationwide advocates of a $15 hourly wage often refer to that pay as a “living wage.”
UNITE HERE Central Florida, a union that represents staff with Walt Disney World Food & Beverage and Housekeeping, called the raise “historic” in a Facebook post published Friday. In addition, workers will receive a previously scheduled $1,000 bonus that had been put on hold during negotiations.
The deal will affect 38,000 employees that belong to six different unions. Though Disney World originally wanted concessions on union rights, the agreement doesn’t include those demands.
“These Union raises will be life-changing for the women and men who welcome millions of tourists to Walt Disney World,” Matt Hollis, president of the Service Trades Council Union, said in a statement. “Now money tourists spend here in Central Florida will stay here, pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into local small businesses.”
The Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, estimates that full-time, year-round workers who receive $15 an hour will earn $3,500 more a year. It also argues that a single, childless adult will need to earn $15 an hour by 2024 in order to “achieve a modest but adequate standard of living.”