Unionized Walt Disney World Employees Preparing to Negotiate for Higher Wages

Nearly 37,000 unionized employees at the Walt Disney World Resort are preparing to negotiate for higher wages when their contract expires next month.

The workers are represented by six different local unions as part of a coalition called the Services Trade Council.

The coalition, which was formed in 1971, represents Central Florida branches of the United Food and Commercial Workers, Teamsters, Transportation Communications International Union, Unite Here, and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

Walt Disney World employee wages vary based on jobs and length of service. A Disney character employee starts out at $8.20 an hour and maxes out at $13.59 an hour while an entertainment technician starts at $14.75 an hour and maxes out at $21.60 an hour.

The minimum wage in the state of Florida is $7.93.

The unionized workers will be asking for higher wages, better benefits, and more pension.

Last year Disney offered to extend the workers' current contract for a year with a wage increase of 3.5 percent but two unions rejected that plan. The unions are hoping for a larger pay increase and some argue that Disney should share the wealth a bit more.

Disney reported a 16 percent increase in operating profit in its Parks and Resorts division for the first quarter of the 2014 fiscal year.

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