Negotiations Between Disney and Unions at a Standstill

Despite the intervention of a federal mediator, talks between Walt Disney World and unions representing the company’s work force did not resolve key areas of conflict between the parties yesterday.

Contract negotiations between Disney and the unions, which represent approximately 20,800 of the company’s more than 60,000 Florida resort workers, began in June, but stalled in October, after union members failed to approve the employment contract that Disney called, at the time, its final offer.  The proposed contract, which would last for 42 months, included $550 in bonuses for full time employees this year, and pay raises of no less than 3 percent each year of the contract period for those who hadn’t topped out of their pay scales.  But critics of the proposed contract said that it wasn’t enough, that the proposed pay raise would not off set the rising cost of health care – a problem facing many companies and employees in today’s business climate of expensive health care and flat profits.

Insiders at the meeting describe it as being “99.9 percent…about wages.”  However, Steve Eisenhardt, vice president of labor relations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, insists that more money will not be offered.  “We can move some things around, but we didn’t put any more money on the table,” said Eisenhardt.  “We already gave them our final offer.”

The current contract, which has already been extended three times, will expire on Saturday, December 11.


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