Six Flags to offer 10% bonus for seasonal US staff

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

From the press release:

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, the world’s largest regional theme park company and largest operator of waterparks in North America, is rewarding its team members with extra cash this summer. Seasonal team members employed as of July 1, and who work through September 6, can earn up to an additional $500-$1,000 or more.

...Employees must be hired by July 1 and continuously employed through September 6, 2021, without prior notice of an intention to resign, to receive bonus. Applies only to U.S., non-union, seasonal positions. 10% bonus shall be paid on total straight-time and overtime wages paid during the applicable bonus period. Further details are contained in the Six Flags Seasonal Retention Bonus program document.

Read the press release on Business Wire.

Jeff's avatar

I wonder if the wage pressure on seasonal jobs will continue next year. The reason for it this year, if I'm to believe the many articles written on the subject, isn't simply Covid, and seasonals probably weren't influenced by unemployment either. The growing theory is that people just don't want to work hard jobs for low wages.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

HeyIsntThatRob?'s avatar

I'd agree with you. When CP announced the $20 per hour wage, the response in work applicants was pretty incredible. There is a line that had to be crossed to get people to want to work that kind of job. From my 15-year-old's perspective, he is loving the work he is doing at the park and the money he is making is pretty absurd to me. I don't know how they are going to put that genie back in the bottle.

The real questions going forward, do people really support higher wages? Or do people support lower cost labor? Without relying on the J-1 Visa program to fill those positions, this situation opened a can of worms.

Yeah, the current situation has clearly been created by a number of things. Lower J-1 Visa numbers, the shift of people realizing the value of their work is greater than what companies previously offered, and YAs are more and more seeking career-oriented positions (internships, etc.) during summers.

I was at KI this past Saturday and was surprised how many brand-new employees I saw even at the end of June. I saw Ops in training on just about every ride -- many looking like their first day. That said, cycle times were still good and the park seemed to focus on stacking lots of bodies on the rides/shops they had open, and keeping some closed to prevent stretching the work force too thin. No big issues or complaints.

Last edited by cmwein,

Jeff said:

The growing theory is that people just don't want to work hard jobs for low wages.

While it's extremely challenging in the short and medium term for the hospitality, food service, amusement park, etc industries - I think it's a good thing for the long haul. I'm hoping the outdated "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" and "work harder not smarter" mentality will continue to disappear more and more.

Jeff's avatar

I hope so as well. It doesn't matter what people "support" one way or another. The market forces don't usually benefit non-union workers, but if they collectively believe they're worth a certain amount, that is the market at work

And look, I've been the first to say that for every person selling churros at Disney, there were ten people in line to do the same. The pandemic seems to have shocked people out of that pixie dust addiction, and that line is much shorter now.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

Historically, the US has looked to immigration (some legal, some not/undocumented) when there were jobs no one wanted to do at the given pay levels. But immigration was significantly impacted by Covid. At some point, that won't continue to be the case.

Significant difference between a teenager living at home/college kid looking for spending money and someone looking to support his/herself.

What do people who are supporting themselves do when the only available jobs don't pay what they view to be the value of their labor?

I have to wonder how sustainable these higher wages are. Are returning employees going to be asked to take "pay cuts"? If not, can you have a ride operator making $20/hour standing next to one making $10/hour?

I do know it isn't sustainable for Sandusky when any eligible and acceptable seasonal employees are going out to the peninsula, leaving the rest of the area shell shocked. I don't know enough about the finances of these smaller businesses but I'm not sure Corso's, Chet & Matt's and the like can afford to pay $20/hour without price increases.

So I guess the real question much am I willing to pay for the all you can eat pizza buffet?

LostKause's avatar

I predict that wages will go down for seasonal park jobs somewhat next year, but not to what it used to be. There will be a compromise. Cedar Fair can say, "Look, the pandemic is over, but we are willing to give you fifteen bucks and hour."

Will that still attract people?

I think it's both glorious and kind of scary that businesses were forced to raise pay to entice people to come back to work. Low wage employees are finding that they were more valuable than businesses let on, but how is this going to affect everything in the long run? Can some of these businesses really not get by if they pay their employees a non-poverty wage?

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