No new contract yet for unions and Walt Disney World

Posted Friday, December 3, 2010 12:21 PM | Contributed by Jeff

An all-day mediation session between Walt Disney World and its largest labor group ended Thursday with contract talks still in a stalemate. Critics say the contract doesn't lift wages enough to offset rising health-insurance premiums.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Saturday, December 4, 2010 1:40 PM

CP Chris, quoting from Pope Leo's encyclical, which is cited in your link: (emphasis is mine)

""If a worker receives a wage sufficiently large to enable him to provide comfortably for himself, his wife and his children, he will, if prudent, gladly strive to practice thrift; and the result will be, as nature itself seems to counsel, that after expenditures are deducted there will remain something over and above through which he can come into the possession of a little wealth."

"working class when, angered deeply at outraged justice and too ready to assert wrongly the one right it is conscious of, it demands for itself everything as if produced by its own hands, and attacks and seeks to abolish, therefore, all property and returns or incomes, of whatever kind they are or whatever the function they perform in human society, that have not been obtained by labor, and for no other reason save that they are of such a nature."

Does anyone even know what it means to practice thrift anymore? For even the lowest classes, life seems to be about accumulating "stuff." Like others asked, what does a living wage cover? Food and shelter-- but then is it "fair" that one gets to eat steak and live in a 5 bedroom house, while another eats hamburger helper in 1-bedroom apartment? It's gone beyond meeting basic needs and having people say that someone else has something I want, but can't afford, so it's not right.

The second paragraph is actually a statement against socialism, but when you read it closely, it's not that different from what some people in our society today are saying-- how dare management and stockholders make profit off of labor! If stockholders aren't given any incentive for the risk they take by investing in the company, they simply remove their money. The overall value of the company goes down, and less money is available for expenses, including labor.

I think too much is made of bonuses and such. It doesn't seem right that some people make exorbitant amounts of money in a bonus, but the truth is, if the sum of all the executive bonuses were spread across the entire company, it wouldn't make that much of a difference.

I don't know who gets paid what kind of bonus at Disney, but as an example, say it comes out to $20 million. If that were given equally to all of the 20,000 full-time employees, that comes out to $1000 a person, or less than 50 cents an hour based on full employment of 2080 hours per year. Is that the difference in someone having or not having a living wage?

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Saturday, December 4, 2010 9:07 PM
Jeff's avatar

CP Chris said:
There's nothing inherently immoral with making money. But making money while putting the screws to your employees is immoral.

What does that even mean? Do employees completely lack free will? I'm so tired of this entitlement b.s. and the complete lack of personal accountability. If you want to make more money, I have an idea... do something about it.


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

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Sunday, December 5, 2010 12:31 AM
LostKause's avatar

I think that he's trying to say that the employees get screwed, while pretending to be happy about it.


I think that everyone wants to make more money, Jeff. If everyone would "do something about it", even if they could, then who would run operate the rides and attractions at Disney for us high class tourists to enjoy? Who would fry up those hot, juicy McDonald's cheeseburgers for us to snack on during our lunch hour? Who would prepare the hot coffee at the gas stations in the morning to help us begin our day? A lot of business would cease to exist, because all of their employees ran off to work at a better paying job.

You keep throwing the word "entitlement" around, like it's a bad thing. I think that if you work for a business, and give them your time and effort to help them to be profitable, you are "entitled" to be compensated fairly. What my argument comes down to is, why is it such a bad thing that I don't think that seven bucks an hour is fair compensation?

Like you say, a business exists to make money. A lot of businesses take advantage of their employees, and it won't stop because so many low wage jobs are available, and people need to work to live. It's just the way things are.

Last edited by LostKause, Sunday, December 5, 2010 12:34 AM
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Sunday, December 5, 2010 12:41 AM

LostKause said:
A lot of business would cease to exist, because all of their employees ran off to work at a better paying job.

No, they wouldn't. That would be a sign that the market has changed and, especially if these businesses are swimming in profits as you suggest, they would adjust wages accordingly. Is economics still required as part of a secondary education these days?

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Sunday, December 5, 2010 2:08 AM
LostKause's avatar

I was being facetious, bigboy.

I understand. I've been lectured for nearly a decade about it here on CoasterBuzz. I just disagree with the attitude that some businesses have when it comes to the value of their employees.


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Sunday, December 5, 2010 11:56 AM

First, as mentioned, no one ios forcing anyone to work for Disney, dress as Spiderman, or feed dolphins. There are plenty of hospitality jobs between I-drive, the Bee-line, or Old Town.

I think working at the Disney parks post graduation is fine. Our park has had several entry level supervisor make the move, get a position, and are enjoying it, though they have to live like flight attendents, ie.. several roomates per apartment. It was their choice to go. Their choice. I look back to 1993 when I finished school, and wanted to do it. I chose not to work for $7/hr. I stayed home and made more money, but I always wondered what would have happened.

Anyway, working on the attractions is not highly skilled labor. Period. Its a great part time job, as so many retired folks have found out. Its a great second job to the locals who want and need the season pass. Beyond that scope, the jobs are entry level positons, reguardless of the 'cast member' title, etc. Yes, they have much more training than regular operators at seasonal parks, but they are able to train virtually anyone for these spots.

When you read the nametags, it lists your 'city of origin'. Again, people, for whatever reason, gravitated to central Florida, and found their way to the casting office. Spouses, displaced workers, teachers, retired Americans. Hey, Disney spends tens of millions of dollars on attractions, and maintains a tremendous capital spending compared to other theme parks, but thats compensated for the gate price.

Disney's benefit package is decent, and while the the hourly wage is being debated, there are many tipped positions that are great. I myself wouldn't mind retiring early, and bartending or serving at the California Grill. Again, not sire what all the hub-bub is, but if you aren't happy with the wage, find a hotel to work at I guess.

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Sunday, December 5, 2010 11:57 AM

CP Chris said:

That being said, I still mostly disagree with unions (particularly the UAW), but clearly some are still needed in certain industries to prevent companies from paying workers so poorly they become a burden on society.

Let me understand what you are saying here: You mostly disagree with unions, but you clearly beleive some are needed to prevent companies from paying their workers such low wages that they will become a burden on society. A few points for you. The UAW was founded in 1935 and basically created the middle class. The SEIU which is basically the biggest union today covers alot of health care employees. With out either of these unions are society as a whole would be rich or poor class, with no middle class. As much as anyone may hate unions, they helped raise the pay scale of most every working class citizen in the USA. Without unions we would all be making peanuts like they do in India, Mexico and China, that's why all our work goes to those countries.

My point is, that without unions that most of you presumably hate to no end we would not be having this discussion on a site like coater buzz. Because most amusement parks would not exist without a middle class. And, yes to answer your question that I am sure you have about me I am a proud UAW member. Do we make to much money? Probably. Do the unions go to far to protect lazy and worthless workers? Absolutely. I can't argue with alot of points that people may have against unions. But, i will argue that they helped america more than they have hurt it. All the jobs are going over seas by companies with or without a union. So who would you blame all the unions or corparate greed.

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Sunday, December 5, 2010 12:21 PM
rollergator's avatar

Luckily for "corporate interests", the unions have become entirely unnecessary since all employers have agreed to treat workers fairly, and with the utmost of respect. Thanks to trickle-down and Reaganomics, we learned the middle class is equally unnecessary, if not even moreso.

Oh, and here's the always-eseential sarcasm-winkie... ;)


You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

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Sunday, December 5, 2010 1:02 PM

My point exactly! I really like the utmost respect part.

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Sunday, December 5, 2010 1:32 PM
Jeff's avatar

LostKause said:
You keep throwing the word "entitlement" around, like it's a bad thing. I think that if you work for a business, and give them your time and effort to help them to be profitable, you are "entitled" to be compensated fairly.

Right, and if you're not, the only thing you're entitled to is to quit and find another job. There is no such thing as loyalty, and time and effort won't score you anything other than what you agreed to when you accepted the job. You're damn right entitlement is a bad thing. Workers are not victims here.

Corkscrew Follies said:
Without unions we would all be making peanuts like they do in India, Mexico and China, that's why all our work goes to those countries.

Well you're part right. "Our" work goes abroad because our workers are asking too much for jobs that don't merit the pay. Unions got out of control decades ago, pushing wages to places the free market would not have allowed them to go. You can credit unions for bringing about OSHA, minimum wage, age restrictions, etc., following the industrial revolution, but with those laws in place, all the unions do today is interfere with market supply and demand. That was my point: An unskilled job mounting a steering wheel does not merit $30/hour. This market interference is (among other things) what made it impossible for US auto to compete, and the reason they had to be bailed out.


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

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Sunday, December 5, 2010 1:51 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

I'm definitely on the same page about if you're unhappy with your pay and benefits, you're not powerless to try and find another job. I've said as much recently in another thread. And as someone who has been involved in unions, and came from WV, where the UMWA was 'king', I definitely think unions served a big purpose at one time. We got things like OSHA, MSHA, and other things.

I don't think unions are as necessary as they used to be.

Having said that, I've worked for companies that I definitely think do their best to screw employees.

I worked for Walmart for 4 years (and I worked at Kmart for 2, and it was the same thing). Those companies offer the promise of starting off small, but having major opportunities to 'advance' and be paid more and get better benefits, etc. as long as you stay and do a good job, bla bla bla. They do their best to keep you, make you think you're going to make more money and advance, but it isn't true in most cases as there are far less better paying jobs in those fields than there are jobs doing the 'grunt' work.

And you do way more work than what you're paid to do.

And lets be honest, there are a lot of people that don't have the education to do jobs that would pay better, but they're physically able to do hard work and operate machinery that can and does put people at risk. All for minimum wage.

So I also think that those jobs should and can pay more for certain jobs. But if all you do is stand at a register all day and ring people up, or something similar, and that's all you're really 'able' to do, be it due to a lack of education or experience, then you shouldn't be expecting much more than minimum wage.

And if you can do more than that, even in this economy, you can be looking for something better while doing the best job you can at your current employer.


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Sunday, December 5, 2010 2:28 PM

Jeff, I agree with your points of unskilled workers mounting sterring wheels for $30 an hour is a reason jobs went overseas or to Mexico. But, in taking said job overseas and paying $3 an hour in our wages and sending the same product back and charging us consumers whose jobs were taken away, the same price or more for said product we were producing here constitutes as corporate greed.

I have experience in this. I had a job once that was by no means unskilled and was making decent money doing it. The company told me they were going to fly me to China to train them on how to run and do said job. I asked them, so basically your sending me over there to train them how to do my job and then get rid of me. I was promptly fired for insubordination. In the end the company I worked for sent all of their jobs overseas and I see them in the news all the time being all happy about how they make millions upon millions per quarter.

By the way, I also agree that most jobs in the theme park industry are not skilled work. Except for maybe maintenace guys, and even they are not un-replaceable.

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Sunday, December 5, 2010 3:22 PM
LostKause's avatar

I worked for Pier 1 Imports (back when they were a profitable and very successful company) for about 6 years, and Target for about 5 years, and I agree 100% with your post, Tek.

At the Target in PA, I applied for every advancement that was available to me, but never got anywhere. I was well liked by all of the managers, received prizes and awards for my work on a regular basis, and was complimented all of the time by management, other employees, and costumers, both verbal and written. The problem was that there were a lot of employees with that same plan, and falling through the cracks is the story of my life.

The same kind of thing happened at Universal, but I was only able to give it a year to try to advance with them.

I wonder how many


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Sunday, December 5, 2010 4:13 PM
Jeff's avatar

Well certainly you can see the bigger picture then, even if you don't like it. Advancement opportunities are scarce, and even more scarce in companies like Disney's park business. The entire amusement industry is that way. Here's the thing these people have to own up to: If you don't want to do the job you think you're getting paid too little for, someone else will. It's not more complicated than that. The same is true for countless retail jobs. You can be replaced, because your job isn't hard.

Corkscrew Follies said:
I have experience in this. I had a job once that was by no means unskilled and was making decent money doing it. The company told me they were going to fly me to China to train them on how to run and do said job. I asked them, so basically your sending me over there to train them how to do my job and then get rid of me. I was promptly fired for insubordination. In the end the company I worked for sent all of their jobs overseas and I see them in the news all the time being all happy about how they make millions upon millions per quarter.

Sounds right to me, but did you ever once consider that the off-shoring was probably what saved the company from dying off completely? They did it because they couldn't afford to do the same thing paying you instead. If I were in your shoes, I would have gladly accepted the free trip to China, and in the mean time, composed a game plan for your next move.

This notion of what a company "can afford" to do is also nuts. You guys look at it in a vacuum as if paying the low-end workers more would have zero impact on the long-term operation of the company. Retail margins are so thin to begin with (unless you're Apple), and you think that simply paying people more makes it all better? Have you noticed how much retail failure there has been in the past decade? Some of these businesses struggle to make it work even when they are paying these so-called crap wages.


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

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Sunday, December 5, 2010 4:32 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Corkscrew Follies said:
Do we make to much money? Probably.

Do the unions go to far to protect lazy and worthless workers? Absolutely.

So who would you blame all the unions or corparate greed.

Sounds to me like union greed is the problem.

Kind of ironic given the claims of corporate greed.

I love how (and this is not just directed at your comments) the little guy can never be greedy. It's always the big scary businesses. I think the very definition of greed is the way unions have ruined so many industries in this country.

Jeff said:
Unions got out of control decades ago, pushing wages to places the free market would not have allowed them to go. You can credit unions for bringing about OSHA, minimum wage, age restrictions, etc., following the industrial revolution, but with those laws in place, all the unions do today is interfere with market supply and demand.

Exactly.


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Sunday, December 5, 2010 5:09 PM

There is no such thing as corporate (or union) greed. By definition, one goal of a company is to get the same productivity from its employees while paying less. Likewise by definition, one job of a union is to garner for its membership a larger share of the proceeds that a company gets for selling its goods and services. That's not greed---on either side. It's just business.

It's true---paying less can sometimes pay back in more-than-proportional reductions in productivity. And, paying more can sometimes drive a company out of business. But, what workers get paid has nothing to do with how much a company makes. Instead, what they get paid is a simple matter of supply and demand---how hard is it to find other people who can do the same job, and are willing to do it for less?


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Sunday, December 5, 2010 9:42 PM

How about workers greed? How many of people screaming corporate greed have bigger TV's and better cars their parents did when they were growing up? How many have cell phones? When I was younger, cell phones weren't something everyone "needed". We didn't have cable tv. We got three free channels. Maybe get back to essentials and people can make enough money when they actually go out and look. If the person in china or india can accept $4 an hour. They are living w/o those. If someone wants to attempt live on a min wage job, don't plan on the 20" rims and big screen tvs and cell phones. Society has made people put wants as needs. I just think min wage isn't meant to be lived on. FIND A BETTER JOB. Get the education needed if that's what it takes. My parents didn't have two cars or even a 25 in TV. those weren't needed items to live on.

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Sunday, December 5, 2010 11:55 PM
Jeff's avatar

When I was younger, cell phones didn't exist.

(Insert "get off my lawn" comment here. :))


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

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Monday, December 6, 2010 12:45 AM
LostKause's avatar

I had a post here about walking 4 miles to school in the snow uphill both ways, but I couldn't go through with hitting the submit button. lol


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Monday, December 6, 2010 12:46 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Brian Noble said:
There is no such thing as corporate (or union) greed.

Tried that one in the past. No one cares.

That's not greed---on either side. It's just business.

That one too.

Instead, what they get paid is a simple matter of supply and demand---how hard is it to find other people who can do the same job, and are willing to do it for less?

And I believe that one as well.

But maybe it will stick this time. :)


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