Universal Orlando says it will raise starting wage to $17 an hour and add more benefits

The raises come while Walt Disney World unions remain locked in pay negotiations

Universal Orlando says it will raise starting wage to $17 an hour and add more benefits
Image via Universal Orlando/Facebook

In a letter to team members, Universal Orlando president and COO Karen Irwin announced the park will introduce wage increases and add other benefits for employees starting early this summer.

Universal Orlando will increase starting pay from $15 to $17 an hour, as well as increase starting rates across the business, according to the letter posted to the company's employee website. The increases go into effect June 4, 2023.

Many employees will also receive an increase based on the new rates and their time with the company.

Details about how these increases will impact individual employees will be shared in the coming weeks.

In addition to starting wage increases, Universal Orlando has increased its 401k match and tuition reimbursement programs, doubled parental leave, and enhanced family-planning benefits. The company has also added compassion leave, launched a new applause recognition program and will now base employee comp ticket availability on park attendance rather than a block-out calendar.

"But it doesn't stop there, our culture seeks to create a path forward that supports our Team Members, gives them an opportunity to grow and fosters a real sense of purpose and belonging," Irwin writes.

The changes come amid a months-long stalemate of negotiations between Walt Disney World and its employee unions over pay, working conditions and contested contract proposals. Disney workers recently overwhelmingly voted against the company's "best offer" of a $1 pay raise to a starting wage of $16 an hour for the thousands of its workers fighting to live and survive in Orlando's cost-of-living crisis.

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Chloe Greenberg

Chloe Greenberg is the Digital Content Editor for Orlando Weekly.
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