Disney cast members approved a new contract this week that will give them a higher minimum wage.
Union leaders voted to approve a new contract for the Walt Disney World cast members, which will raise the minimum wage from $10 to $15 per hour beginning in three years, according to Axios.
The jump will help Disney hire more part-time workers.
The company said in a statement to Axios that "increasing wages for cast members represents a significant investment in Central Florida and will provide a powerful boost to the local economy."
The contract will cover more than half of the 70,000 workers at Disney World, which is the largest single-site employer in the country, according to The Associated Press.
The wage will impact bus drivers, costumed characters, retail workers, cooks, makeup artists and several other positions.
"The way I feel is we won this for our members at Disney but we also won this for the ride operator at Universal Studios who doesn't have a union," said Eric Clinton, president of Unite Here Local 362, one of the six unions that represents 38,000 workers covered by the contract. "This affects Hyatt, Hilton. They are going to have to raise wages to compete with others. This is 38,000 people. This isn't a small amount."
The contract will raise wages for existing workers by $4.75 per hour by October 2021, too.
Everyone working in Florida will receive a $1,000 bonus. Disney previously said it would pay employees bonuses after the tax cuts last year, but those payments were withheld, according to CNNMoney.
"Our 50 percent wage increase will have a real, meaningful impact on our cast and their families and is part of our commitment to the thousands of cast members who make magic for our guests each and every day," said George Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort. "Increasing wages for cast members represents a significant investment in central Florida and will provide a powerful boost to the local economy."
Sylvia Allegretto, economist and co-chair at the Center on Wage & Employment Dynamics at the University of California Berkeley, told The Tampa Bay Times the wage increase to $15 per hour — even though Florida's minimum wage is $8.25 per hour — will be significant.
"If I'm working for $8.25 at wherever, and I'm using similar-type skills, then I'm going across the street to Disney World looking for a job that guarantees me higher pay and raises,'' she said.