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Disneyland Resort reaches tentative contract agreement with hotel workers

Disneyland Resort reaches tentative contract agreement with hotel workers
Disneyland workers protested the lack of progress in negotiations with management on July 3, 2018. The union that represents hotel workers has reached a tentative contract agreement with the Disneyland Resort. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

After a year and a half of negotiations and protests, the Disneyland Resort has reached a tentative contract agreement with the union that represents about 2,700 hotel workers.

The agreement reached early Tuesday by the leadership of Unite Here Local 11 and Disney management would raise the starting salary to a minimum of $15 an hour, up from $13.25, and pay workers a $1,000 bonus that was promised after the Republican tax plan was approved last year.

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The workers are scheduled to vote on the four-year contract Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If approved, the contract would take effect Sept. 24.

“We are pleased to have reached a tentative agreement with Unite Here Local 11 that provides a 40% increase in minimum wages for our cast members over the next two years,” Disneyland Resort spokeswoman Liz Jaeger said.

The contract will pay housekeepers at least $15.80 an hour, she said.

In addition to raising the minimum wage, the new agreement includes “fair workloads for housekeepers” and “a new, affordable health insurance option,” according to union officials who declined to provide more details pending the membership vote.

The unions for Disneyland Resort workers have been aggressively pushing Disney management to increase pay and benefits over the last year or so.

In February, a study commissioned by the unions was released, showing that 73% of employees questioned said they don't earn enough to pay for such expenses as rent, food and gas. The study of workers at Disneyland and California Adventure Park also said that 11% of resort employees have been homeless or have not had a place of their own in the last two years. Disney officials called the study “inaccurate and unscientific.”

Earlier this year, union members also collected about 20,000 signatures to place a measure on the Nov. 6 ballot in Anaheim that requires all large hospitality companies that accept a tax subsidy to pay a living wage.

Union leaders say the measure, if passed by a majority of voters, applies to the Disneyland Resort because it is benefiting from a 1996 bond agreement approved by Anaheim to build a six-story resort parking garage. Business leaders in Anaheim say the measure does not apply to the resort.

If the measure is passed, the wage increases called for in the initiative would supersede the union contracts of those companies in Anaheim that accept a tax subsidy.

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