Disney workers release harsh documentary in fight over wages

December 1st, 2010 by Staff

ORLANDO, Fla. — Two days before contract talks with union leaders, Disney employees released a harsh documentary about the theme park giant. Employees were protesting Tuesday and may be using the movie to put pressure on Disney.
Union members voted down a contract in October and they’ve been unable to reach a new deal since then, so they’re hoping a protest and the new movie will put some public pressure on Central Florida’s largest employer.
Titled “Mousetrapped 2010,” the 20-minute movie is the latest and nastiest shot from unions slugging it out with Disney over a new contract for 20,000 employees in Central Florida. Diabetic Jim Mykins’ testimonial is one of several featured in the film; the Downtown Disney custodian has been with the company 17 years and makes $13.57 an hour.
“There’s times when I have to make my insulin last three months when it’s only for a month,” Mykins said. “It’s either that or we don’t have food on the table.”
Some union leaders insist the cost of health care could wipe out three percent annual raises offered by Disney, but the company says employees have a range of insurance options and suggested a critical movie won’t change its position.
“It’s unfortunate some union leaders believe this is an effective way to negotiate a contract. The reality is we appreciate all that our cast members do and our proposal guarantees them pay raises over the next three years,” Disney spokesperson Andrea Finger said.
“Do you think some will see this as a low blow?” WFTV reporter Eric Rasmussen asked Eric Clinton of United Here Local 362.
“No, I don’t think so,” Clinton said. “Disney has an image that they’re a family company, family oriented. What we’re trying to show the public is that’s not really the true story for the people who work there.”
Union workers got their first look at the movie at a hotel down the street from the theme parks Tuesday, but WFTV can’t get a copy of the entire film yet and it’s unclear when it will be released to the public. Both sides meet with a mediator on Thursday.
WFTV checked and the highest base salary a worker under the contract makes is $33,000 a year. The base salary paid to 20,000 service workers ranges between $16,000 for housekeepers to $33,000 for stage techs; that is before overtime. Attraction workers, vacation planners, janitors and other service workers are somewhere in that range.

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