ORLANDO, Florida: Union members have voted down a contract proposal covering 45,000 service workers at the Disney World theme park resort in Florida.
Workers said the contract did not help Disney employees face cost-of-living hikes in central Florida, especially in housing and other expenses, the union said, adding that 13,650 out of 14,263 members who voted on the contract last week rejected the proposal from Disney.
The Service Trades Council Union coalition, made up of Disney World service workers belonging to six unions, had demanded a starting minimum wage of at least $18 an hour in the first year of the contract, up from $15 per hour.
The contract rejected last week would have raised the starting minimum wage to $20 an hour for all service workers by the final year of the five-year contract.
The company said that the proposal had offered one-quarter of those covered by the contract an hourly wage of $20 in its first year, eight weeks of paid time off for a new child, maintenance of a pension and the introduction of a 401K plan.
In a statement, Disney spokesperson Andrea Finger said, "Our strong offer provides more than 30,000 Cast Members a nearly 10 percent on average raise immediately, as well as retroactive increased pay in their paychecks, and we are disappointed that those increases are now delayed."
Next week, the Florida Legislature will convene to complete a state takeover of Disney World's self-governing district, with the support of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
In April last year, the Republican-controlled Statehouse approved legislation to dissolve Disney's Reedy Creek Improvement District by June 2023.