In March, 45,000 theme park workers at Walt Disney World overwhelmingly ratified a new contract that provides huge wage increases, along with eight weeks of paid parental leave, safety improvements, and a 401(k), while protecting pension plans and health care coverage.
The group includes more than 3,500 members of Teamsters Local 385 in Orlando, Florida, who keep Disney World running in their roles as bus drivers, dispatchers, parking workers, laundry, ranch hands, and even Disney characters themselves. With a new starting wage of at least $18 per hour this year, and other front-loaded raises and benefits, this contract is a big deal for Disney workers across the board. The average Teamster at Disney will see a wage increase of at least 33 percent by October 2026.
“This is a strong contract that is going to make a real and instant impact in our members’ lives. We won this fight because our members had the courage to stick together and stand united with the local’s leadership,” said Teamsters Local 385 President Walt Howard. “Even after six months of difficult negotiations, with one substandard offer after another, we didn’t back down. And that’s what forced the company to come back to the table with a serious offer that gets members what they deserve.”
In early February, 96 percent of workers rejected Disney World’s “final” offer. That display of worker unity forced Disney negotiators back to the table, where they came up with a better offer that will see workers reap the benefits immediately.
“Disney knows that this place doesn’t run without us. We make the magic for millions of guests each year, and that’s exactly what we proved with this new contract,” said Jonathan Pulliam, a five-year Teamster character performer at Disney World. “After everything that we sacrificed during the pandemic, I’m so proud that we finally have a contract that reflects our value and our hard work every day.”