Seeking to mute bad publicity about workers sleeping in their cars and relying on union food banks, Walt Disney Co has agreed to increase its minimum pay rate for some workers from $11 per hour to $15.
Members of four unions representing ticket takers, ride operators, cleaners, store employees and truck and bus drivers at the southern California Disneyland resort complex in Anaheim – often nicknamed “the happiest place on earth” – approved the deal and agreed to call off a hunger strike and protest that they had planned on Friday.
Disney - Business - Leaders - Deal - Members
Disney and local business leaders were quick to congratulate themselves on a “historic” and “unprecedented” deal, but members of the two largest unions at the resort, representing food service and hotel workers, were not included. Neither were several thousand non-union workers. Disneyland employs about 30,000 people, while the deal covers about 8,600 of them.
“We are the single largest union at Disneyland and we are not included in this contract,” Christopher Duarte, the president of Workers United Local 50, which represents food service workers, told the Guardian. “This is progress, but it can’t be the end result. It’s not the solution to our problems.”
Stage - Showdown - Anaheim - Voters - November
The stage is now set for a brutal showdown over an initiative expected to be put before Anaheim voters in November to expand the $15-per-hour minimum wage to employees of any large company that has received city subsidies.
The ballot initiative, which targets a large local hotel developer as well as Disneyland, would mandate further wage increases of up to $18 per hour by 2022 – by which time a state-imposed minimum wage of $15 per hour is set to kick in. A consortium of local business interests has already sought to define the ballot initiative as a “job killer” that would deter investment and leave everyone poorer.
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