Sunday schadenfreude: 96% of Disney’s 32,000-member Florida union reject its contract offer
The Walt Disney Company is in a world of hurt in Florida. Having inserted itself into Florida politics by advocating injecting homosexual sex into K – 3rd grade classrooms, the company just lost its special privilege to act as the local government for its vast real estate holdings around Disney World.
And now, the major union at Disney World has overwhelmingly rejected the company’s new contract offer. The New York Times reports:
Unions that represent about 32,000 full-time workers at Disney World — ride operators, costumed performers, housekeepers, restaurant and shop employees, bus drivers, custodians — said on Friday night that members had voted to reject Disney’s offer for a new five-year contract. Matt Hollis, president of the Service Trades Council Union, a consortium of six unions, said that 96 percent of the votes cast went against Disney.
“Disney can do better and must do better,” Mr. Hollis said at a union event in Orlando, Fla.
In a statement, Disney said that its “strong offer” would provide more than 30,000 employees “a nearly 10 percent on average raise immediately, as well as retroactive increased pay in their paychecks, and we are disappointed that those increases will now be delayed.”
A 10% bump in pay doesn’t make up for Bidenflation in food, gasoline, utilities, and other expenses that take up a large part of the income of low wage workers. When Trump was president, inflation ran at 1.4% as he handed over the Oval Office to Biden. That offer might look a lot better if Biden and his handlers weren't in the Oval.
Oh, Florida is a right to work state, so there was no legal compulsion for Disney World to have a union in the first place, in case you were wondering.
A 10% increase in wages would increase overall costs a lot, since theme parks are fairly labor intensive. And now that Disney is no longer in charge of property taxes on its real estate there, who knows what’s gung to happen to those costs?
The Florida Legislature will convene a special session on Monday, part of which will be dedicated to establishing a new governing structure for Disney World.
These cost increase come at an awkward time:
The Walt Disney Company needs to keep Disney World operating at full tilt to make up for losses in its nascent Disney+ streaming division. Last year, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products generated $7.9 billion in operating profit. Disney’s streaming unit lost about $4 billion.
But Disney is also contending with an activist investor, Nelson Peltz, who wants the company to put a magnifying glass on costs, refocus on profit growth and reinstate its dividend, all of which increase pressure on Disney to keep a lid on labor costs. Disney is loaded with debt — more than $45 billion — because of the pandemic and because of its $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets in 2019.
It's not as if Disney can move Disney World to a lower cost state or overseas. They are stuck in a state whose political establishment it has alienated with its arrogant progressive political stands.
Maybe new management would do better?
Photo credit: Hyku CC BY-SA 2.0 license