ANAHEIM (CBSLA) – Disney has reached a tentative agreement with its resort hotel workers that will see their wages increase by nearly $2 an hour.
Following negotiations that lasted more than 18 months, Unite Here Local 11 reached a tentative contract agreement with Disney late Monday that would cover about 2,700 of its 3,000 members, the Orange County Register reports.
It would increase starting wages for most of those workers from $13.25 to $15 an hour on Jan. 31, and it would deliver $1,000 employee bonuses the company announced in January following a federal cut in corporate taxes.
The deal would immediately raise housekeepers’ pay to $15.85 an hour.
In a statement, Walt Disney Co. spokeswoman Liz Jaeger said the proposal provides “industry-leading wage increases” that would represent a 40 percent hike for workers over the next two years, and it “demonstrates Disney’s commitment to its valued cast members.”
This latest agreement comes after Disney reached a deal in July with the four labor unions who represent about 9,500 workers at Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure Park and Downtown Disney. Under the deal, 9,700 unionized ride operators, janitors and other theme park workers will see their wages increase to $15 an hour in early 2019.
Despite the wage hikes, the unions aren’t abandoning Measure L, which will be decided by Anaheim voters in November. Sponsored by 11 labor unions, Measure L would require Disney and other large Anaheim employers which accept city subsidies to pay workers a minimum of $15 an hour starting Jan. 1, 2019, with salaries rising $1 an hour every Jan. 1 through 2022.
Once the wages reach $18 an hour, annual raises would then be tied to the cost of living.
The controversy over Disneyland worker pay was heightened in February when a report was released by researchers at Occidental College and the Economic Roundtable which found that Disneyland Resort employees are paid so little, one in 10 experiences homelessness and two-thirds don’t have enough food to eat.
The issue became such a touchpoint that Sen. Bernie Sanders even attended an Anaheim rally in June demanding Disney raise wages.
Disneyland is Anaheim’s largest employer with about 30,000 workers. The unions have argued for years that Disney is profiting from millions in taxpayer subsidies while employees struggle to pay their bills.