Nearly half of Disney's US staff go hungry, claims report Nearly half of Disney's US staff go hungry, claims report

Nearly half of Disney's US staff go hungry, claims report
26 Mar 2018

Almost half of all Disneyland Resort’s US employees have gone hungry at some point because they could not afford to buy food, a survey has found.

The survey of 5,000 Disneyland employees by Occidental College and the Economic Roundtable on behalf of trade unions, claimed that just under three quarters (74%) of the company’s workers fail to earn enough to cover basic expenses each month. Some 85% of Disneyland Resort workers earn less than US$15 an hour, while more than half of those surveyed earn less than US$12 an hour.

The report also found that 43% of employees required, but could not afford, dental care. More than two-thirds enrolled in the company’s health insurance plan said they were forced to give up other necessities in order to make their payments.

According to Newsweek, around 11% of those surveyed — including 13% who had young children — even reported having been homeless in the last two years. A further 46% claimed to have been forced to lower their food intake or otherwise disrupt normal eating patterns. Some 15% of receive food stamps.

The survey suggested that one of the reasons workers continued to struggle was that their hourly wage dropped by 15% between 2000 and 2017. Despite cost of living increases, the average hourly wage for Disneyland Resort workers has fallen from US$15.80 to US$13.36, even after being adjusted for inflation.

But Disneyland dismissed the report. Spokeswoman Suzi Brown told CBS8: “This inaccurate and unscientific survey was paid for by politically motivated labour unions, and its results are deliberately distorted and do not reflect how the overwhelming majority of our 30,000 cast members feel about the company. While we recognise that socio-economic challenges exist for many people living in Southern California, we take pride in our employment experience."

According to Disney, the majority of park employees make more than the Californian minimum wage of US$10.50, while most workers earn additional money through “premiums and overtime”.

 Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

Almost half of all Disneyland Resort’s US employees have gone hungry at some point because they could not afford to buy food, a survey has found.

The survey of 5,000 Disneyland employees by Occidental College and the Economic Roundtable on behalf of trade unions, claimed that just under three quarters (74%) of the company’s workers fail to earn enough to cover basic expenses each month. Some 85% of Disneyland Resort workers earn less than US$15 an hour, while more than half of those surveyed earn less than US$12 an hour.

The report also found that 43% of employees required, but could not afford, dental care. More than two-thirds enrolled in the company’s health insurance plan said they were forced to give up other necessities in order to make their payments.

According to Newsweek, around 11% of those surveyed — including 13% who had young children — even reported having been homeless in the last two years. A further 46% claimed to have been forced to lower their food intake or otherwise disrupt normal eating patterns. Some 15% of receive food stamps.

The survey suggested that one of the reasons workers continued to struggle was that their hourly wage dropped by 15% between 2000 and 2017. Despite cost of living increases, the average hourly wage for Disneyland Resort workers has fallen from US$15.80 to US$13.36, even after being adjusted for inflation.

But Disneyland dismissed the report. Spokeswoman Suzi Brown told CBS8: “This inaccurate and unscientific survey was paid for by politically motivated labour unions, and its results are deliberately distorted and do not reflect how the overwhelming majority of our 30,000 cast members feel about the company. While we recognise that socio-economic challenges exist for many people living in Southern California, we take pride in our employment experience."

According to Disney, the majority of park employees make more than the Californian minimum wage of US$10.50, while most workers earn additional money through “premiums and overtime”.

 Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

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