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Disneyland Raises Minimum Wage to $15 in Big Win for Workers

Why Global Citizen Should Care:
Throughout the US, low-wage workers often live in poverty. The employees at Disneyland have shown that this unfair arrangement can be changed and living wages can be secured, as advocated by the United Nations’ Global Goals. You can take action on this issue here.

Disney is the largest employer in Orange County, California, with 30,000 employees, and on July 27, the company approved a contract that raises the minimum hourly wage to $15 an hour by next year, according to Common Dreams.

The raise is being hailed as a breakthrough moment in the larger effort to raise wages across the country, so workers can better afford basic necessities like food, shelter, and health care.

Take Action: How Much Do You Know About Women in the Workforce?

“Our unprecedented offer shows our commitment and care for our cast members and is the largest increase in our history,” the president of Disneyland Resort, Josh D’Amaro, told The Hill.

There are four unions that represent nearly 10,000 workers at Disneyland, and they were behind this victory, securing a three-year contract to raise wages incrementally, according to The Hill.

As unions continue to dwindle in the United States, this is an example of how effective they can be in securing better conditions for workers, according to labor advocates.

Critics argue that raising the minimum wage causes employers to hire less employees and fire employees to offset the wage increases, but advocates and evidence refute this claim.

The fight for higher pay came after a poll by the unions found that about 75% of Disneyland employees were struggling to pay for rent, food, and gas with their salaries, according to Common Dreams.

Although only a third of Disneyland employees are part of the unions, all employees will be affected by this shift.

Under the new contract, all food service workers, custodians, retail workers, ride operators, and other workers who keep the park running will be paid a minimum hourly wage of $15 by January, Common Dreams reported. In June of 2020, an extra 50 cents per hour will be added to the salaries.

Read More: The US Fight for $15 Minimum Wage Has Spread to Japan

The unions didn’t stop there, though. Workers were able to collect enough signatures to add a ballot measure on Nov. 6’s ballot that would require all hospitality employers in Anaheim that accept city subsidies to raise their minimum pay to $15 an hour in January. The measure will also raise wages by $1 per hour every year until 2022, when these raises would have to be directly pegged to the cost of living, Common Dreams reported.

By 2022, the state of California will raise its minimum wage for all employees to $15 an hour, which is a result of years-long campaigning by labor advocates.

Although this is a successful chapter for minimum wage employees all over the country, and is now a trend following Walmart’s increase in wages this year along with Target’s increase in 2017, millions of workers throughout the country still struggle to make ends meet.

The Fight for 15 campaign began in Seattle in January 2014, by Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant and the Socialist Alternative political party to fight for a $15 minimum wage in Seattle. This campaign has been making huge strides for unions and workers all over the US for the past four years.