Disney World reaches tentative deal with service workers union for wage increase
Union members rejected Disney's prior offer of $17 in February
Walt Disney World on Thursday reached a tentative deal with unions for service workers at the company that would raise the starting minimum wage from $15 to $18 an hour.
Under the agreement, every current theme park worker in the union will receive a raise between $5.50 and $8.60 by the end of the contract, with the first $3 in raises arriving this year, Matt Hollis, head of the coalition of unions, said in a statement.
"Securing an $18 minimum hourly rate this year, increasing the overall economic value of Disney's original offer, and ensuring full back pay for every worker are the priorities union members were determined to fight for. Today, we won that fight," Hollis said.
Disney had previously offered a $17 minimum in February, which some 14,000 union members voted to reject.
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"Our cast members are central to Walt Disney World's enduring magic, which is why we are pleased to have reached this tentative agreement," Jeff Vahle, president of Walt Disney World Resort, said in the statement.
Disney said the deal also includes affordable medical coverage and 100% paid tuition reimbursement for higher education.
The contract with the service workers covers more than half of the 70,000-plus workforce at Disney World.
Disney World service workers who are in the six unions comprising the Service Trades Council Union coalition will vote on the contract proposal next Wednesday.
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Walt Disney World was the first major employer in Central Florida to agree to a minimum hourly wage of $15, setting the trend for other workers in the region dominated by hospitality jobs.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.