BAY LAKE, Fla. - Walt Disney World is looking to hire more than 3,500 new workers, even offering “hiring bonuses” of up to $3,000 for some positions.
It all comes as the unions that represent 38,000 Disney workers get set to go back to the bargaining table next week.
Unionized workers have been locked in contract talks since last summer -- and since then, they’ve staged demonstrations and gone back to the bargaining table several times, but still have no deal.
"How can Disney justify giving $3,000 bonuses, when you have 19,000 plus workers making under $11 an hour?” asked Angie McKinnon, a representative of UNITE HERE LOCAL 737.
Union leaders were meeting Monday afternoon as they prepare to head back to the bargaining table one week from Tuesday.
Union workers voted down Disney’s most recent offer of a 3 percent raise for most workers, with a minimum 50-cents-an-hour raise.
And union bosses are upset that Disney won’t pay a $1,000 tax-cut bonus to union members -- unless they accept that deal.
"A lot of them are still waiting on the tax, the money that Disney promised to give them from the tax cut,” said McKinnon.
“As is the case with all aspects of an employee's compensation package, federal law requires that we negotiate the payment of that bonus with the unions, which we are in the process of doing,” a Disney spokeswoman said.
As Disney now tries to hire thousands more full- and part-time cast members, the company is able to pay the hiring bonuses because the new cast members won’t be covered by the union contract until after they’re hired.