Statement by Ada Briceño, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11, regarding the Walt Disney Company’s announcement Tuesday to give 125,000 U.S. non-managerial staff a one-time $1,000 cash bonus and seed an employee education program with $50 million.
Walt Disney Company stands to reap an estimated $2 billion after the tax cuts passed late last year. The company says they will spend less than 10% of this tax bill windfall—$175 million this fiscal year—starting an education program and giving bonuses to its employees.
Disney says it “will work with union representatives regarding potential distribution plans for employees currently working under existing union contracts.” UNITE HERE Local 11 can tell Disney our position now: the company should pay the bonuses immediately, without forcing conditions or holding them subject to our ongoing contract negotiations.
Local 11 represents 2,700 cast members at Disneyland who have been negotiating with Disney since December 2016. The largest group of these members are housekeepers, whose starting wage is the state minimum of $11 per hour. After ten years, a Disneyland housekeeper earns $13.50 per hour. By contrast, starting wages for housekeepers at the nearby Sheraton Park and Anaheim Hilton are both over $16 per hour.
Our members are negotiating for real improvements: raises that take us out of poverty, affordable family health care, and humane workloads. Disney should agree to all of these improvements as part of a fair contract settlement. A one-time bonus will not alter our focus or resolve.