This weekend, UNITE-HERE Local 11 members voted to ratify a five year agreement with the Disneyland Resort that will increase their starting wage to $15 beginning January of 2019 – three years prior to state law mandating such an increase. The agreement provides a 40% minimum wage increase over two years, and housekeepers will have their minimum wage rise to $15.85 immediately.
Local 11 represents 2,700 cast members, primarily employees of its three Anaheim Resort hotels.
Earlier this summer, the 9,700 other cast members from Master Services Council ratified a similar agreement that also boosts their starting wage to $15 at the start of 2019. In August, the Disneyland Resort announced it was raising the starting wage of non-unionized hourly cast members to $15.75.
Apart from and in addition to these collective bargaining agreements, the Disneyland Resort is set to offer new cast member healthcare options. According to a company statement issued yesterday:
“Starting next month, Disneyland Resort will roll out employee healthcare coverage that offers affordable options for many cast members, their families and eligible dependents. One plan could have an employee contribution for as little as $6 per week for single participants.”
Last month, Disney introduced Disney Aspire, which provides financial support for cast members to pursue undergraduate and graduate studies, as well as vocational education opportunities. According to a company statement:
“In August, the company introduced Disney Aspire, an extensive education investment program which is providing cast members the resources to learn, grow and achieve within or outside of the company. The program allows hourly Disneyland Resort cast members to pursue a bevy of educational pursuits, from vocational or language studies to bachelor and master’s degree programs. Announced at the beginning of this year by The Walt Disney Company CEO Robert Iger, Disney Aspire represents an initial investment of $150 million over the next five years. Cast interest in Disney Aspire has exceeded company expectations.”
Disneyland Resort President Josh D’Amaro said the large minimum wage increase will “have an immediate and lasting impact on the quality of life of our cast members and their families.”
“Additionally, we are very proud to offer our cast peace of mind through affordable healthcare options and free educational opportunities with our groundbreaking new program called Disney Aspire,” said D’Amaro.
“Cast members often join Disney because of their love for our brand, and stay with us because of the opportunities and overall employment experience they are exposed to throughout their careers,” continued D’Amaro. “In fact, over the past five years, 89 percent of the open entry-level leadership roles have been filled by frontline, hourly cast members providing career options and a strong and bright future.”
said, “Over the last several months, Disney has found common ground on significant labor contracts, increased wages for union and non-union workers and introduced a comprehensive no-cost education program for hourly cast members that’s unlike any we’ve ever seen,” said Lucy Dunn, President and CEO of the Orange County Business Council. “This is not only good for Disney and its cast members, it sets the bar for our entire Orange County community and we applaud their efforts.”
“Disney Aspire is one of the most accessible and comprehensive, free educational programs offered in the country. This significant investment by Disney in the future of their employees is the gold standard for the service industry,” said Rachel Carlson, CEO of Guild Education.
The Disneyland Resort has dramatically grown the number of jobs it provides – increasing the number of cast members from 20,000 to 30,000 during the past ten years. The opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in 2019 and other expansion projects will add thousands more jobs. Disney’s enormous expansion investments have also created nearly 2,000 construction jobs since 2016, cementing the company’s position as Orange County’s largest employer.