The Service Trades Council Unions and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida have ratified an agreement for nearly 30,000 workers. The tentative deal includes wage increases, freezes employees’ health care costs, and protects workers defined benefit pension plans.
The Service Trades Council Unions are made up of five different unions: Teamsters, IATSE, Transportation Communication Workers/IAM / UNITE HERE and the UFCW. Six thousand members of UFCW Local 1625 work in merchandise, flowers, and banquets. One thousand workers paraded near Downtown Disney earlier this summer to demonstrate their enthusiasm for a new contract.
The agreement lifts wages by $0.47 retroactively to March 30, 2014 for all merchandise employees at the top of the wage scale, and will increase by .70 over the next 25 months. Workers who currently earn below the top rate will receive retroactive increases between .50 and .97 and earn 1.00 over the next 25 months.
The employer had proposed converting the current defined benefit pension plan to a 401(k) plan, but dropped the proposal. Workers also bargained to keep health care costs the same, and will not be required to increase their health care contributions until January 2016. “Any time you can win a wage increase like this and not have to give it back in the form of healthcare contributions, it is a huge win for the membership,” said Ed Chambers, President of UFCW Local 1625 and negotiator for Service Trades Council.
The Council also won bargaining rights for more than 250 non-union part-time banquet servers.