Walt Disney World boosts its minimum wage to $15

On August 26, the Walt Disney Company agreed to pay workers at Walt Disney World a minimum wage of $15 an hour by 2021 (CNN). After a year of negotiations between the company and a group of unions (including the Service Trades Council Union) that represents 38,000 service workers at the park (The New York Times), tens of thousands of workers in the Florida amusement park and nearby resorts will receive a pay bump. 

Senator Bernie Sanders, who advocates for raising the minimum wage to $15 a hour nationwide, hailed the news as a victory for those who are “sick and tired of working longer hours for lower wages.” The average wage among park workers is currently $11 an hour, with many workers living in impoverished conditions according to reports in The New York Times.

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The deal is a rare win for beleaguered American labor unions, which have struggled to combat stagnant wages and historic lows in union membership.

Not everyone sees a victory in the pay increase. Some argue that increases in the minimum wage will accelerate the automation of unskilled jobs (Business Insider).

Help report on what it means that Walt Disney World workers will receive a higher minimum wage.

Questions to pursue

  1. How were union negotiations successful in raising the wage floor at Walt Disney World to $15?
  2. Is there evidence that jobs at Walt Disney World are being automated? If so, which ones?

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