A coalition of unions for workers at Walt Disney World Resorts filed a federal unfair labor practices complaint accusing the company of holding employees’ $1,000 bonuses hostage during contract negotiations. Last month, Walt Disney Company announced it was giving the bonuses to each of its more than 125,000 employees after federal tax cuts reduced the corporate tax rate. However, the Service Trades Council said that Disney refuses to give the bonuses until the union approves a new contract, and if the employees don’t accept Disney’s offer by August 31, the bonus offer will expire.
“A thousand dollars is a lot of money to people who make $10 or $15 an hour,” says Ed Chambers, president of the trade council, which represents more than 35,000 Walt Disney World Resort employees, including bus drivers, and attractions workers. The trades council and Disney have struggled to reach an agreement since labor talks began in the summer. In December, union members overwhelmingly rejected Disney’s proposal that would have given a raise of 50 cents an hour or a 3% increase, whichever was higher.