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04-11-2007, 05:40 AM
Disney unions launch Web site

Sara K. Clarke | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted April 11, 2007

Working at Disney is less than a dream come true, according to a Web site launched Tuesday by five unions representing Walt Disney World workers in ongoing contract negotiations.

The site, WeAreDisney.info, outlines issues that the unions want addressed, including wages, health-care costs, outsourcing and retirement benefits. The current contract expires April 28 for several unions that combined represent 21,000 of Disney's 39,500 full-time workers.

"Our goal is to inform the public about our concerns," said Morty Miller, president of the Service Trades Council Union.

A Disney World spokeswoman said the company respects the right of union leaders to share their perspective. But the company stood by its compensation packages.

"From our perspective, we believe that our pay is competitive," spokeswoman Kim Prunty said.

Among the goals for Walt Disney World workers are wage increases that allow them to have a middle-class standard of living, Miller said. The Web site says that entry-level wages are $7 per hour, and that many Disney World workers earn between $14,560 and $17,680 annually.

Six employees share their stories on the site, including Eli Rivera, who says he teaches a custodial class at Disney University.

"I am very concerned about outsourcing because it undercuts our wages and benefits," Rivera said on the Web site.

Prunty said the company offers cast members a lot beyond their paychecks. Benefits for cast members include subsidized child care, a partnership with public transportation, on-site tax preparation and negotiated discounts in the community, she said.

The company offers five medical plans and pays more than 75 percent of the cost, Prunty added.

Sara K. Clarke can be reached at skclarke@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5664.