“Just Deal With It,” Cast Members Upset With Response to Struggles

in Walt Disney World

Mickey and Minnie in front of Cinderella Castle

Credit: Disney

In the midst of negotiations with Unions, Disney Cast Members recently spoke out about concerns they are seeing at Walt Disney World Resort.

Disney Cast Members are the lifeblood of the Disney Parks & Resorts. When Disney Park Guests talk about the “Disney magic,” it is largely due in part to the hard work that the Cast Members have put in.

disney cast member
Credit: Screenshot via Annual Shareholders Meeting

During a roundtable discussion that comes at a pivotal time for Disney union workers who, like many Central Floridians, are grappling with the housing crisis and punishing inflation, Disney Cast Members shared stories that some called “a nightmare.”

This month, the largest Disney union coalition is going to start negotiating a new contract with the company.

“This is not the American dream that I grew up thinking I was going to be living. This is a nightmare,” said one worker, fighting back tears. She is paid $530 a week, she said, which made her rethink having children because she is struggling financially. “I’m not going to have the family I wanted. I’m never going to own a house.”

mickey proposing to minnie in front of cinderella castle at disney world
Credit: Disney

Another Disney Cast Member who works at Starbucks in Disney’s Animal Kingdom said they were concerned as, even working at Disney, they have to ask for money from their parents to make ends meet.

“I don’t know how long I’ll be able to afford the rent,” said Burns who asks for money from her parents. She doesn’t know how long she can count on that privilege, she said. “I’m 26 and it makes me feel like a failure.”

Though she told her apartment complex that she might have to decide between “going homeless” or paying for gas to afford her commute to work, the message she got back from the complex was disappointing to say the least: “Just deal with it.”

Cinderella Castle 50th Anniversary lights
Credit: Disney

The report from Florida Politics goes on to share that Disney and the Service Trades Concil Union, which represents about 41,000 Disney workers, will begin negotiating a new contract soon.

Starting August 24, the Service Trades Council Union — a union coalition of six locals representing about 41,000 Disney workers, including those from Unite Here — is going back to the bargaining table to negotiate a new contract with Disney. The union has not publicly said what issues are its top priorities in negotiations for the next contract.

The last time Disney and the union reached a new contract was in 2018, when they agreed on a series of raises to bring the starting pay from $10 an hour to eventually $15 an hour by October 2021. That agreement took about a year to negotiate and expires on October 1 of this year.

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