Fron the Orlando Sentinel....
Negotiators for Walt Disney World and its largest labor group struck a deal Friday afternoon on a new proposed contract, ending a months-long stalemate, after the resort sweetened bonuses for some workers.
The revised offer will now head to a vote before the full membership of the Service Trades Council, which represents more than 20,000 full-time workers at Disney World. The vote is scheduled for Feb 25.
It will be the second contract vote for workers, who rejected Disney's first offer in October.
"I'm very pleased we were able, after all this time, to finally reach an agreement that allows people to have another chance to vote," Service Trades Council president Harris Raynor said.
The proposed contract is largely similar to the one workers voted down in the fall. It calls for $550 bonuses for all full-time workers and, for those not already at the top of their pay scales, annual raises of between 3 percent and 4 percent over three years.
But during meetings with a federal mediator Friday — the third such session between Disney and union leaders — the resort agreed to reinstate an extra $100 bonus it had initially agreed to pay only if workers had approved the contract on the first vote.
In addition, the resort agreed to pay another $100 to all full-time employees who make $8.50 an hour or less.
"We appreciate the assistance of federal mediator Hank Groton in helping us reach a good and fair contract for our cast members," said Steve Eisenhardt, vice president of labor relations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. "Both sides worked hard, and we are pleased we could find common ground."
Support for the revamped deal isn't unanimous, however.
The leadership of two of the six unions that make up the Service Trades Council — Unite Here! Local 362 and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1625 — voted Friday to oppose the latest agreement.
They argue that the raises are not equitably distributed, as workers in many job categories will get only the minimum 3 percent raises each year. They also say the size of the raises isn't enough to offset rising health-care premiums, particularly for workers on family-coverage health insurance.
"Some workers with family health insurance will be making less money at the end of the contract than they do today," said Eric Clinton, president of the Unite Here! local, which represents attractions workers, custodians and ticket sellers, among others.