Over the past few years, the minimum wage has been a hot topic for discussion. The federal minimum wage is currently at $7.25 — a wage that has not been changed since 2009. However, many states have taken it upon themselves to set their own minimum wage to help workers when wages have not risen at the same rate as the cost of living.
In Florida, the current minimum wage is $10 — a rate that was set at the end of September. Florida recently voted to steadily raise its minimum wage until 2026, when it would become $15 an hour. For many, though, that was simply not fast enough as they are struggling to pay all of their bills while holding down a full-time job.
For some time, Disney had been in talks with Cast Members when it came to raising the minimum wage that they felt was too low. Finally, the Cast Member unions and Disney were able to come to an agreement and Cast Members began making a minimum of $15 per hour beginning October 3, 2021. That wage hike has really made a world of difference to many Cast Members and some now feel a large weight lifted off of their shoulders.
Some Walt Disney World Cast Members recently spoke to the Orlando Sentinel about what that kind of wage increase means for them and their families. Per the Sentinel:
Disney workers reached the full $15 minimum wage Sunday, during the same weekend the resort began celebrating its 50th anniversary. For many employees, the increased income over the past three years has been life-changing: they’ve been able to pay off debt, buy houses and start planning for the future.
“I kind of feel more like myself, or a human being, if you would, because I can do the things that I’ve always wanted to do,” Henry said.
Even though Disney has really led the way when it comes to setting the bar for how much theme park employees make, it is important to note that $15 an hour — or $10 per hour as many other hourly employees in Florida make — is under what calculations estimate the living wage should be. According to a living wage calculator, the minimum wage in Florida for a single adult with no children should be $15.44 per hour.
While Disney’s current minimum wage stands at $15 per hour, some Cast Members are hoping to continue working with Disney to keep wage talks active as the cost-of-living rates continue to climb. Amber Smith, Magic Kingdom Cast Member spoke to the Sentinel and said that Cast Members should never stop fighting, and they should not be content with wages staying at $15 per hour.
Do you think that Disney should continue to raise its minimum wage to more than $15 per hour? Let us know in the comments!
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