Abigail Disney finds Bob Iger's pay absurd

Posted Monday, April 22, 2019 6:33 PM | Contributed by BrettV

From the article:

“Pointing out the incongruity of pay at the top and pay at the bottom provokes a reaction because it so violates of our innate sense of fairness it is impossible not to wince,” Disney wrote. She argued that it was not enough simply to pay above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 — a figure, she said, that is “too low to live on.”

Read more from The Washington Post.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019 3:38 PM

I find her comments reasonable and agree with her conclusion.


tall and fast but not much upside down

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019 4:18 PM

I worked for Disney...and was the lowest paid employment class in the company (College Program Attractions Host). Not one day did I feel like I was underpaid. I felt like I was compensated fairly even though I knew what Michael Eisner was making. Would I have liked to make more? Sure. But, they filled the positions on the pay rates they offered. Supply and demand is a pretty simple concept.

If you are going to go down this rabbit hole then you need to look at EVERYTHING...and not just amusement park workers. Should the guy selling peanuts at the baseball game make a proportional wage to the Major League Pitcher? Should the Key Grip on a movie set make a proportional wage to Tom Hanks?

Now, when I was at Disney would I have liked to make more than minimum wage? Yes. (Cast members are making more than minimum wage.) Would I have liked to have had my college tuition paid for by the Mouse? Absolutely. (Cast members now have that program available.) It seems to me that strides have been made.

The bottom line is that there is a difference between a career and a job. When I was at Disney I took a job that I thought would help prepare me for a career. It did...and now I'm doing pretty well. That is the way it is suppose to work. I'm sure there is some glamour in the notion of working on the Jungle Cruise for my entire life but I think at some point we need to face reality.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019 4:34 PM
Jeff's avatar

Yes, this, a hundred times over. Working on the front lines at Disney is not a career. It requires virtually no skill beyond tolerating entitled tourists with a smile. If you want to make more money, you have to do something of greater value. Yes, I realize the manufacturing jobs have gone away, but you have to go where the opportunity is. There are so many trades people down here doing more than OK for themselves, and the scarcity is further driving up their rates. This has nothing to do with how much Bob Iger makes. The two are not connected.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019 4:34 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Brian Noble said:

Caveat: "more than 1,000 times" Is that 1,001? 2,000? Probably neither of those, but also probably somewhere in between.

Good point, but I would have assumed it was near 1000. Otherwise wouldn't you round it to like the nearest 100th? Maybe that's just how my mind works? Like if it's 1571 times the median, you don't say he makes more than 1000 times the median, you say he makes more than 1500 times the median.

At any rate, I dug up the actual number from this article and it's 1424. (which goes back to feeling like really weird rounding to use "1000 times" and not "1400 times", but I digress...)

So the median Disney pay is a little over $46k

About 50% higher than the median pay in the USA. (and yes, I'm comparing 2018 and 2016 numbers, but it's more than close enough for the ol' coaster forums)

No real point and it doesn't make the argument in either direction, it's just a neat fact that you can pull from the info.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Tuesday, July 16, 2019 4:36 PM
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Tuesday, July 16, 2019 6:14 PM
Dale K's avatar

I was bored at work one day and decided to see what jobs Disney was trying to fill. I was shocked at how many skilled trades they were looking for.

We have the same issue in Michigan when it comes to the trades. My company can't find anyone (good at least) for the machine shop. Are trades considered that bad now or do people think they are better then that? For the record I was a machinest for 20 years and made really good money doing it.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019 8:36 PM

What has happened is that there was too much emphasis put on a college education, and the skilled trades were discouraged. This started when I was in high school, which is far longer ago than I care to think about. When heavy industry stated to move overseas, the situation got worse. They no longer have shop classes in high school where you have instruction in basic woodworking, metalworking and electrical. The unions used to have programs to educate new members, but then they started having problems keeping their existing members employed.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019 5:21 PM

Disney calls Abigail's statements "baseless" and "egregious."

https://thehill.com/regulation/labor/453553-disney-company-blasts-a...disneyland

“We generally avoid commenting on such baseless reports like this, but this one is particularly egregious and we won’t let this stand," the company said in an email.
"We strongly disagree with this characterization of our employees and their experience at Disney. This widely reported stunt is a gross and unfair exaggeration of the facts that is not only a misrepresentation, but also an insult to the thousands of employees who are part of the Disney community," the statement continued.

The drama continues.

Last edited by GoBucks89, Wednesday, July 17, 2019 5:22 PM
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Wednesday, July 17, 2019 7:52 PM

Dutchman said:

They no longer have shop classes in high school where you have instruction in basic woodworking, metalworking and electrical.

That's not entirely true. Many schools still offer robust CTE courses. However, in large part these courses are no longer mandatory to complete graduation requirements. My school district, as an example, offers the following courses: small engines, 2 levels of construction repair, 3 levels of welding, woodworking, auto maintenance, 2 levels of auto mechanics, 2 levels of cabinet making, engineering physics, and intro to engineering design. Most schools in the area offer similar courses, if not more.

Who is pushing college? Is it schools, parents, or society as a whole?

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019 11:12 PM

When I was in high school, (the late 60's early 70's) the general consensus was that to get ahead in the world, you had to go to college. There was a lot of blue collar families that really pushed their kids to go to college. Where I grew up you heard a lot of "no kid of mine is going to work in the mills/mines/auto plant etc. I knew of former classmates that were legally disowned by going to work in the steel mills. These jobs paid very well compared to the average college graduate of the time. But there was stigma attached to them. It just was the way that the society of the time thought

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019 11:31 PM

I heard just today that some schools accept Show Choir as a phys ed requirement.

Rule of thumb. For a happy, successful life find what you’re best at and do that.

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Thursday, July 18, 2019 8:36 AM
Jeff's avatar

I graduated from high school in 1991, and it was a generally accepted idea that college was "a good idea," at least in the suburbs. We also had a county vocational school though, and a ton of kids went on to community colleges to see if further education was even a good fit for them. What I do not recall as an expectation was that college was a guarantee of some sort, which I think is what the millennials have been sold.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Thursday, July 18, 2019 12:34 PM

All of the arguments expressed against Abigail Disney are based on a subtle "slight of hand" fallacy in the yahoo.com news article and are straw man arguments.

In arguing that the CEO's compensation was too high, Ms. Disney makes a moral argument: Bob is an employee, just the same "as the people scrubbing gum off the sidewalk...and they're entitled to all the same dignity and human rights that he is." She then justified her position that people at Disney are underpaid through an anecdote: "Every single one of these people I talked to were saying, ‘I don't know how I can maintain this face of joy and warmth when I have to go home and forage for food in other people's garbage,’” concluding, “I was so livid when I came out of there because, you know, my grandfather taught me to revere these people that take your tickets, that pour your soda...[t]hose people are much of the recipe for success.”

the coasterbuzz commentators arguing against Ms. Disney's argument almost universally refer to the "median salary" of Disney employees to argue that Disney employees are well compensated. But, Ms. Disney is not making an argument that the average employee is under compensated (and even if she was, you should be using the mean average not the median average). She is arguing that the "least compensated" people at Disney are so poorly compensated that they are dehumanized.

In regard to her moral argument (that the lowest paid employees are paid so poorly that they are dehumanized) I tend to agree generally (I have no knowledge about Disney's lowest paid employees). We (the US) have created mythologies around the importance of CEO's and Executives that have created generations of people believing that the "value" of these people is exponentially greater than the value of those doing "less important" jobs. And, I think these mythologies and the resulting moral paradigms have enabled us to create a culture in which there is tremendous economic inequality.

For whatever it's worth, I tend to believe that we either go all in and create real fiduciary punishments (imprisonment, public lashings etc.) for executives, CEOs. doctors etc. to correspond with the benefits they've been granted (you know, really demonstrate how important his or her decisions are), or cut the bull**** and admit that everyone ****s in the same toilets. that the value of a CEO is not 1000s greater than the value of someone cleaning his toilet, and regulate salaries to correspond to this existential reality.


tall and fast but not much upside down

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Thursday, July 18, 2019 1:20 PM
Jeff's avatar

No... conflating the value of a very highly skilled and specialized job with that of a job that requires virtually no skill is illogical. You're also conflating human value with monetary value, and they're not the same thing. If you define human value by how much money you make, you've already lost. It's a horrible way to measure success.

Also, you're implying that highly skilled people should be punished for some reason. If you wanna talk about bull****, well, let's start there. I work in a field where most people make six figures after only a few years of experience (or almost immediately in some markets). They're already in the top 8%. Why is that immoral?


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Thursday, July 18, 2019 1:30 PM

I noted that you disagree with my opinion and belief regarding this issue (although I think you were a little "too loose" in how you generalized what I wrote).

Last edited by urumqi, Thursday, July 18, 2019 1:31 PM

tall and fast but not much upside down

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Thursday, July 18, 2019 1:58 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

There's the moral argument that every human deserves "X" because of basic human rights or dignity or whatever. (human value, as Jeff put it)

Then there's the reality that your skills have a certain value. (monetary value, in Jeff's terms)

It's almost two different arguments.

Me? I'm hardcore, old school, grumpy old man.

No one derserves anything and you earn what you earn based on how valuable whatever you do is to whomever you do it for.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Thursday, July 18, 2019 1:58 PM
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Thursday, July 18, 2019 2:08 PM
Jeff's avatar

urumqi said:

I noted that you disagree with my opinion and belief regarding this issue (although I think you were a little "too loose" in how you generalized what I wrote).

Cool, but can you respond to this?

I work in a field where most people make six figures after only a few years of experience (or almost immediately in some markets). They're already in the top 8%. Why is that immoral?


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Thursday, July 18, 2019 2:19 PM

I'm not sure how I should respond to your statement because I never said (nor do I believe) it is immoral to be in the top 8% of wage earners?


tall and fast but not much upside down

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Thursday, July 18, 2019 2:24 PM

I agree with Lord Gonchar that "no one deserves anything and you earn what you earn based on how valuable whatever you do is to whomever you do it for."


tall and fast but not much upside down

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Thursday, July 18, 2019 2:26 PM

So, by that token, shouldn't CEOs make whatever their company thinks they've earned and not some amount below the arbitrary regulated figure you're suggesting?


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Thursday, July 18, 2019 2:53 PM

bigboy, I don't believe so because I don't read "how valuable whatever you do is to whomever you do it for" so narrowly.


tall and fast but not much upside down

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