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.

Monday, December 6, 2010 12:53 AM
kpjb's avatar

Bears 54 said:
How about workers greed?... 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.

If someone in China or India is making $4 an hour, they're rich. People can blame corporate or union greed as much as they want. The fact is that you can make minimum wage with no benefits at all and outsourcing is still cheaper than you. The average wage in India is $1800 a YEAR. In China it's much better. $2400/year. I don't think you're greedy if you want more than that.


Hi

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Monday, December 6, 2010 1:04 AM

Fine; but don't expect to do work here that can be done for $4 per hour in China. And that's why we don't build anything small in this country anymore...it is too expensive to pay people what would be the going rate here to do work that can be done more cheaply somewhere else. We still build big stuff here because the cost of intercontinental shipping, at some point, overrides the cost of labor. Basically, we have to get used to the idea that different kinds of work are going to end up in different parts of the world, chasing the labor costs and workforce competencies around the globe.

Of course, none of that applies to amusement park attraction hosts. That's work that *has to* be done locally, and the fact that Disney does offer a benefit package tells you something about their demand for quality labor. But that doesn't mean that there is any reason why the market shouldn't be allowed to do its thing and establish standards for wages in the amusement industry, even within the Orlando market. If the wages are too low, blame the large number of "clueless" college students migrating into the market and not demanding higher wages. The problem isn't that Disney doesn't pay enough; the problem is that they are able to get enough people to work for the wage they offer!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____
/XXXXX\ /XXX\ /XXXX\_ /X\ /XXXXX\ /X\ /X\ /XXXXX
_/XXXXXXX\__/XXXXX\/XXXXXXXX\_/XXX\_/XXXXXXX\__/XXX\_/XXX\_/\_/XXXXXX

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Monday, December 6, 2010 1:18 AM
Jeff's avatar

And that, my friends, is supply and demand. The market does its thing.


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

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Monday, December 6, 2010 3:48 AM

Jeff said:

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?

Of course there's free will, but many of them lack any realistic means to do anything about their situation. As Travis said, most people who can better themselves will, except perhaps the lazy people. Many people in the low-level positions honestly believe that they are on the right track to bettering themselves, as they spend years being mislead by corporate policies that make them think that being good loyal employees will earn them advancements.

LostKause said:
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?

Exactly. By necessity, there will always be a "bottom rung" of the ladder. I'm just of the opinion that the bottom rung gets exploited too often precisely because of that. Employers never really have to worry about that pool of potential workers drying up, no matter how badly they treat them.

RatherGoodBear said:

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?

I don't know if that's the difference between a having a living wage and not having one. However, I do know that for most people in those positions, a 50 cent an hour increase in pay would be a huge deal for them.

And to CorkscrewFollies, I should clarify. Back when they were created, yes, the UAW (and really all unions) were 100% necessary. I still 100% support them in terms of looking out for worker safety, particularly in the industries that seem to be able to fool or pay off the regulators.


And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

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Monday, December 6, 2010 9:30 AM
Vater's avatar

CP Chris said:

Of course there's free will, but many of them lack any realistic means to do anything about their situation. As Travis said, most people who can better themselves will, except perhaps the lazy people. Many people in the low-level positions honestly believe that they are on the right track to bettering themselves, as they spend years being mislead by corporate policies that make them think that being good loyal employees will earn them advancements.

So it's immoral that companies are paying less to the lazy idiots they employ? Sounds to me like benevolence that they let those people keep their jobs. There comes a time where most sane people realize advancement is less and less likely, and at that point a decision must be made: continue to stagnate or start looking elsewhere for employment?

Last edited by Vater, Monday, December 6, 2010 9:37 AM
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Monday, December 6, 2010 10:36 AM

I'd argue that a good majority of them aren't in the situation they're in out of laziness, but I knew laziness is usually the reason most people presume, so that's why I mentioned it.


And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

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Monday, December 6, 2010 10:46 AM

So companies should pay their employees more because their employees aren't capable of making more elsewhere or making more doing something else (for whatever the reason)?

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Monday, December 6, 2010 11:07 AM

That seems kind of backwards to me. I'd think that companies should pay their employees more because said employees *ARE* capable of making more elsewhere or making more doing something else (for whatever the reason).

Isn't that the way the market is supposed to work?

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____
/XXXXX\ /XXX\ /XXXX\_ /X\ /XXXXX\ /X\ /X\ /XXXXX
_/XXXXXXX\__/XXXXX\/XXXXXXXX\_/XXX\_/XXXXXXX\__/XXX\_/XXX\_/\_/XXXXXX

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Monday, December 6, 2010 11:44 AM

Employers pay what they need to pay (in terms of wages and benefits) to get the type and number of employees that they want/need to run their business. If you are not getting the type and number of employees that you need/want (assuming such folks are out there presumably doing other work), you will need to increase what you pay. That is how the market works.

A doctor can make more money elsewhere than he/she can being a broom sweep. I don't think that anyone would suggest that amusement parks pay more because of that, would they? (Extreme example but it shows the point). Only if there are not enough people who are willing to work for what you pay (because they are making more elsewhere).

A company who needs engineers may want to pay $100,000/year. If their competitors are paying $125,000, that company may have trouble finding folks to work for it. But if there are enough engineers willing to work for $100,000/year (putting aside lifestyle issues that may make folks want to accept less compensation at a given company), the company doesn't have to pay more than that just because folks could earn more elsewhere.

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Monday, December 6, 2010 11:56 AM

So if a theme park company wants to pay minimum wage for their employees yet get the better than average minimum wage employee then they need to have some other carrot.

In the case of Disney it is the College Program. If Disney had to rely solely on the local residents to staff it's 60,000 plus positions it wouldn't happen. Disney created the College Program which now hires a significant portion of its workforce year round at minimum wage (and, more importantly for Disney...no benefits.) Why do college kids flock to those jobs?

Well, for many it is the chance to work in Florida in the cold weather months. For others it is the dream fulfilled to work at Disney. Perhaps the promise of a full time job (which will also be low paying but have benefits). And there are countless other reasons. But, Disney took it a step further by offering those WDWCP cast members better than dormitory style housing, nice amenities in their housing areas (pools, recreation areas, etc) and more.

Cedar Point is the poor stepchild in this regard. While they do have housing...it is notoriously bad to the point that many midwestern kids would rather stay home for the summer and work at the mall than live in those conditions. (I saw this reality firsthand. In fact, if I would have had to live at Cedars or Gold dorms when I got there as a seasonal employee I would have turned around and left...never becoming a full time employee there.) So, since CP can't recruit enough American help they go overseas for the BUNAC program. If those kids show up at CP and find less than stellar housing conditions it is a LOT harder for them to go home.

I don't have a problem with Disney offering low pay so much as them reducing their benefits package. That use to be a fairly substantial carrot to overcome the wage issue but like everyone else, they have made cuts that are difficult for someone who makes minimum wage to swallow.

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Monday, December 6, 2010 12:04 PM

Tried that one in the past.

Yeah, but you didn't stick to it. You were the one who brought up "union greed".

I don't have a problem with Disney offering low pay so much as them reducing their benefits package.

The real loser in all of this is the county governments in Orange and Osceola. There is pretty good evidence (in Married to the Mouse, among other places) that Disney's *importing* of cheap labor to the area (via WDWCP and just people moving there) has placed a significant strain on the social services of the counties beyond what the tax revenues produced can cover.


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Monday, December 6, 2010 12:15 PM
Jeff's avatar

CP Chris said:
Of course there's free will, but many of them lack any realistic means to do anything about their situation. As Travis said, most people who can better themselves will, except perhaps the lazy people.

So are lazy people now a protected class? Your argument is pretty thin.


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

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Monday, December 6, 2010 12:21 PM
LostKause's avatar

I would go as far to say that the low wage jobs all across the country are putting a significant strain on the social services that are available.

A lot of people who don't make any money get help from our government. We need those low-wage earners to work the low-wage jobs, or else we wouldn't be able to buy cheap cheeseburgers or ride rollie coasters.


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Monday, December 6, 2010 12:51 PM

I would go as far to say that the low wage jobs all across the country are putting a significant strain on the social services that are available.

But few areas can match Orlando for the sheer density of such jobs. In places with a more "normal" income distribution, those on the lower end are not nearly as large a fraction of the total populace, and tax receipts are more likely to cover the services needed.


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Monday, December 6, 2010 12:56 PM

I have a tough time feeling very sorry for local governments in the Orlando area. To the extent they have budget issues, shame on them.

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Monday, December 6, 2010 1:21 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Brian Noble said:
Yeah, but you didn't stick to it. You were the one who brought up "union greed".

Always looking for new ways to relate and convey the same core message.

If it doesn't stick one way, throw it from a different angle. :)


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Monday, December 6, 2010 1:45 PM

I think Brian makes a good point about the strain on local services and it is probably a bit disproportional in Orange and Osceola as it is in other parts of the country. One reason why Orlando has placed a lot of emphasis on creating jobs in the high tech sector in the past decade or so. Sandusky, Ohio probably experiences similar problems considering the high priority placed on the service economy in that community.

I do think there is some kind of separation of reality in the amusement park business. When you think about it, there are a ton of "seasonal" employees (at parks across the country) that have aspirations for full time jobs in the business. But, the reality is that there are relatively few FT positions available in that industry and even fewer GOOD PAYING full time jobs.

It reminds me of all the kids these days getting degrees in Sports Management in college. They all expect to come out of school and either be a high priced player-agent or run a professional sports team or stadium. In reality 90% of them (or more) end up working in Group Sales or the ticket office...or end up in local parks and recreation departments because those great jobs are few and far between as well.

And, in the case of the amusement parks you have to wonder how much the parks themselves are doing to prevent enabling these "hangers on" that think the FT job is around the corner. At Cedar Point I knew folks who were seasonal employees for 10 years and still had expectations (never particularly disputed by the management) that they would one day be FT.

Last edited by wahoo skipper, Monday, December 6, 2010 1:46 PM
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Monday, December 6, 2010 4:55 PM

It reminds me of all the kids these days getting degrees in Sports Management in college.

If I had a nickel for every C student who told me he wanted to major in CS to be a "video game designer," I wouldn't need my day job.

I have a tough time feeling very sorry for local governments in the Orlando area. To the extent they have budget issues, shame on them.

Some of it is due to things that happened at the state level. For example, at one time RCID was except from regional impact analyses/offsets, and that flowed from the original legislation creating the district combined with (if I recall correctly) some state court decisions, not through the (mis-)management at the county level. That's not to say that the counties haven't done their fare share of stupid, but still.

Edited to add: I know I've recommended it in the past, but Married To The Mouse is an *excellent* book that delves into a lot of these issues. Very illuminating.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Monday, December 6, 2010 4:58 PM
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Monday, December 6, 2010 7:13 PM
rollergator's avatar

^Something tells me I stand a decent chance of reading that over the holiday break. Thanks for the recommendation. :)


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

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010 2:42 AM

Jeff said:

CP Chris said:
Of course there's free will, but many of them lack any realistic means to do anything about their situation. As Travis said, most people who can better themselves will, except perhaps the lazy people.

So are lazy people now a protected class? Your argument is pretty thin.

The point I was trying to make (and apparently failed at) was that lazy people are in the minority of that group, and mostly deserve what they get. I know lots of people who work their ass off in low-level positions trying to just maintain the status quo. Things like pursuing a higher education or moving to a more desirable region are nothing more than a pipe dream for them, no matter how hard they work at their current situation.

Even people who have done everything right are getting screwed in this environment. Several friends I went to school with graduated with engineering degrees. The only employment options they found was to take contract positions for large firms. Of course, that means sub-standard pay and no benefits (not even sick time or vacation days) and they can be laid off and not paid whenever it's convenient. All while the firms they work for report record profits.


And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

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