Cedar Point raises seasonal pay rate to $20, adjusts operating calendar, in response to labor shortage

Posted Friday, May 21, 2021 3:21 PM | Contributed by Jeff

From the image shared to Twitter:

We've added more than 300 full-time, year-round positions - with benefits - to our food and beverage team, we've introduced a $500 seasonal sign-on bonus for associates and we're now increasing the 2021 seasonal and part-time wage to $20/hr., a 100% increase over 2020 wage rates.

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Friday, May 21, 2021 3:23 PM

Wow. CP ride ops will make more money than I did in a professional position just a few years ago.

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Friday, May 21, 2021 3:24 PM
Bakeman31092's avatar

I’m sure the quality of service will increase commensurate with the increase in pay.


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Friday, May 21, 2021 3:55 PM

So, will the employees that signed on for $13-$15 per hour get a bump in pay? Serious question.

I would think that Cedar Point is going to lose more money this year than they did last year. I know it has been beaten to death, and no one could anticipate a pandemic, but $99.00 Gold Passes in 2019 look like an epically bad idea right now.

Last edited by Bozman, Friday, May 21, 2021 4:41 PM
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Friday, May 21, 2021 3:57 PM

They're going to make more than I do in my current position at the school. I'm curious what the employee mask requirements will be after the state order ends June 2nd. My son was already interested after graduation but I almost am for that much hourly too. That's enough to offset the cost of the 1 hour drive for two people if we could coordinate schedules. i don't normally work summers but I'm tempted.

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Friday, May 21, 2021 4:45 PM

Announcement says they are increasing the 2021 seasonal and part-time wage for all positions to $20/hour. I read that to say everyone will get that wage. Even those who signed on for less. If not, people will just quit and re-apply.

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Friday, May 21, 2021 6:07 PM

Bakeman31092 said:

I’m sure the quality of service will increase commensurate with the increase in pay.

In the respect that service will go from "no service" to "service", that would arguably be an infinite improvement in quality.

(Arguably not, of course. We've all visited at least one food stand that we would have preferred they left closed.)

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Friday, May 21, 2021 11:11 PM

This is good news, and hopefully will spell some kind of solution to a bad problem. And of course, it leads me to questions.
Will they continue to take anyone and everyone who darkens the door? Or at this rate will they afford to be a little more selective?
And will the seasonal nature of the business allow them to back the hourly wage down to something lower?
When I retired I was making more than 20/hr. Not a lot more...

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Saturday, May 22, 2021 7:35 AM

I would think after the crunch is over the wages would go back down. My husband now has paramedics working under him that will be making less per hour than Cedar Point employees this summer because they are newer to the field and at the bottom of the pay scale. For this year they gotta do what they gotta do but I would not expect this to be the norm going forward. I can't imagine it woudl be feasible.

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Saturday, May 22, 2021 9:46 AM

That's a pretty tough genie to put back in the lamp once you've let it out. It's a big reason why low wage employers are so reluctant to increase wages so sharply to account for employment markets that are usually cyclical. It is often cheaper to ride it out, although I'll concede that the current market appears to be a little different. Cedar Point may be in a different spot since they are seasonal and turn over a large number of staff every year, but employers with continuous operations would have a difficult time rolling back pay rates when the market gets better.


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Saturday, May 22, 2021 9:48 AM

Kings Island put out a similar announcement, but their number is $15/hour.

$20/hour could just be what it takes to staff CP simply because of location. It's the same reason why in past normal seasons (2019 and before) the park really only runs at 100% for two and a half months out of a six month operating calendar. Meanwhile, I've been to mid March Opening Days at Carowinds that run just as smoothly as a mid summer day at CP

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Saturday, May 22, 2021 5:05 PM

I think bigboy has the idea...this is a pay bump specifically for seasonal employment, and if the labor market changes next year, so will the compensation schedule. Cedar Point can do that. The biggest problem with raising starting wages is dealing with all the senior workers who are at a lower rate, and trying to avoid too much wage compression. My employer is raising its minimum to $20/hour but when they announced that I wasn't there yet...and I've been with this company for 5 years, in a job I started 9 years ago. And yes, we all got raises. That's why even today new hires still aren't making $20 yet. That is supposed to happen next year.

It's a whole lot easier if there are no incumbent professionals and everybody is a new hire.

I also wonder if we will see Cedar Point embrace technology a little more. Well, we know they will. Self=scan kiosks in the parking lot, for instance. Traditionally Cedar Point has used bodies instead of technology for a lot of things, and I suspect we will see that change a bit. Traffic signals in the parking lot would be another example. Might we see entrance hosts replaced with turnstiles?

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


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Saturday, May 22, 2021 7:06 PM

While I don't want them to move to two person coaster crews like Six Flags, I also get frustrated when Blue Streak has four restraint checkers and still can't get a train out without stacking every train longer than the actual ride takes including the lift hill. Perhaps there is a happy medium.

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Saturday, May 22, 2021 10:51 PM
99er's avatar

^I feel like part of this has come from their unnecessary safety protocols they have added over the years. When I worked at the park you could give a thumbs up as soon as you checked your last restraint and the train could be dispatched before anyone returned to the four corners of the platform. Every Ride Host has a special circle to stand on now don't they before a train can be dispatched? Much of their efficiency can be improved by just cleaning up how platform operations are done.


-Chris

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Saturday, May 22, 2021 11:18 PM
bjames's avatar

This has caused a huge problem for me as I’ve already booked a hotel in Huron for three nights with the intent of visiting the park June 1-2. Worse, I’m doing a road trip and my whole trip is upheaved because I planned KI, Holiday World, SFSL, and SDC in the following days. The hotels for those locations are already booked and I’m going to have to cancel and reschedule everything! I love Cedar Point and really want to try Steel Vengeance, but now I’m considering skipping it and hitting Kennywood for a day instead as a replacement (I’m going from NY to TX). The trouble is I don’t know when I might be able to get to Ohio again. The other option is to push everything back two days but then I’d be stuck going to KI on a weekend....

Last edited by bjames, Saturday, May 22, 2021 11:24 PM

"The term is 'amusement park.' An old Earth name for a place where people could go to see and do all sorts of fascinating things." -Spock, Stardate 3025

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Saturday, May 22, 2021 11:49 PM
99er's avatar

Or just keep your hotel in Huron and take 3 days to relax and enjoy the area? Cleveland has some fun things to do and the lakefront between Sandusky and Cleveland has some neat places to visit. There is always Put-In-Bay too. Obviously not what you wanted but better than completely rearranging your entire trip or taking a loss?


-Chris

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Sunday, May 23, 2021 12:50 AM
bjames's avatar

I’ve made weeklong trips to the area a number of times, been to Put-in-bay twice and seen pretty much everything in the area, no, unfortunately this was meant as a quick stop. I’m leaning towards delaying it two days because of SV and adding more to the budget for the fast pass haha


"The term is 'amusement park.' An old Earth name for a place where people could go to see and do all sorts of fascinating things." -Spock, Stardate 3025

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Sunday, May 23, 2021 5:01 AM

I'm reposting from somewhere else because I think it's on the money (pun intended):

"After decades, the hardline of the GOP has, accidentally thanks to COVID, gotten to see what a labor market without immigrants and work visas looks like."

Meanwhile I'll continue working in a country where I'm guaranteed 29 days of annual leave per annum by law....


I develop Retro Games for macOS, iPhone, and iPad when not riding coasters.

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Sunday, May 23, 2021 8:48 AM

Paisley said:

I would think after the crunch is over the wages would go back down. My husband now has paramedics working under him that will be making less per hour than Cedar Point employees this summer because they are newer to the field and at the bottom of the pay scale. For this year they gotta do what they gotta do but I would not expect this to be the norm going forward. I can't imagine it woudl be feasible.

A quick back of the envelope calculation:

Cleveland.com reported in March that Cedar Point was hoping to hire 6500 employees (seasonal and year-round). 6000 staff x 72 hours/week x 12 weeks equals a bit over 5 million hours.

At $10/hr, that's a $50 million hit to the bottom line of a company that reported $170 million in income in 2019. So 1/3 of profit (or 10% of EBITDA). That's ... not chump change. And it's one park, albeit the largest and most profitable, and I assume the one with the biggest labor needs, and the one without a nearby labor pool.

Is it feasible post-2021? Well, the company might still be profitable. The share price, one presumes, would take a beating, and in the long run one might start asking if some other development were a more profitable use of lakefront property than an amusement park.

Then again, maybe this represents part of a shift where workers capture a greater portion of corporate profits than they've had in the last 20-30 years, and lower profits will be the norm across the board. Although I would imagine it will hit different industries differently, and as you and RideMan note, it creates some wage compression problems. Or even wage inversion, if that's a thing.

In any case, it's probably making life tough for the manager of the Steak & Shake on Milan Road.

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Sunday, May 23, 2021 9:44 AM
kpjb's avatar

hambone said:

A quick back of the envelope calculation:

Cleveland.com reported in March that Cedar Point was hoping to hire 6500 employees (seasonal and year-round). 6000 staff x 72 hours/week x 12 weeks equals a bit over 5 million hours.

If they're working everyone 72 hours a week, that probably has more to do with why they aren't finding people than the pay rate.

An observation from being at the park the last couple of days: no accents. Everyone was local. They normally supplement that base with thousands of overseas help. If I had to guess I'd say that they have exceeded the number of local hires that they normally have, but without the outside help there still aren't enough bodies. They rectified this last season by shipping in everyone that worked at Carowinds and Great America, but that option's off the table this year.


Hi

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