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Fri Jan 31, 2014, 10:35 AM

Disney’s Magic Kingdom Losing Its Sparkle For Workers


(In These Times) As workers prepare to negotiate new labor agreements at Walt Disney World, some union members are wondering whether the magic has disappeared from the “happiest place on earth.”

The resort’s largest labor contract, which covers some 35,400 workers, is due to expire at the end of March. Though formal negotiations toward a new agreement haven’t yet begun, says Ed Chambers, president of Lakeland, Fla.-based United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1625, there are already signs of difficulties ahead.

Chambers leads a coalition of six different union locals known as the Service Trades Council, which will hammer out new contracts with Disney in the coming months. According to Chambers, the council saw its first clear signs of unrest in August 2013, when resort managers offered to extend the existing contract for another 16 months and raise wages 3.5 percent. Though the council ultimately declined the offer, he says, some union leaders are now unsure whether Disney can be convinced to improve on it.

Jeremy Cruz-Haicken, president of hospitality union Unite Here Local 737—also a member of the Service Trades Council—argues that Disney’s offer just didn’t do enough to protect workers. The proposed wage hike was better than unions have gotten from Disney in other recent contracts, he tells Working In These Times, but it’s still less than what workers deserve. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/16188/magic_kingdom_losing_its_sparkle_for_workers/



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