Deputies break up rally of hundreds of Disney workers demanding pay increase

Hundreds of Disney employees demanding a pay increase rallied Thursday evening at an entrance of Walt Disney World, causing traffic to slow to a crawl and prompting deputies to eventually break up the crowd.

The rally lasted almost two hours, with Disney employees marching through crosswalks to block traffic and chanting, “Disney workers need a raise,” in an effort to raise awareness for their cause.

Disney employees currently earn a minimum of $10 an hour, but the union that represents 38,000 staff members is pushing for an increase to $15 an hour.

The union is also asking for what amounts to a 37 percent pay increase.

Disney and the union are at the bargaining table over the issue, and the company has proposed a pay increase.

“We agree that our cast members deserve a raise, which is why we’re offering to increase pay up to 5 percent over the next two years for most existing cast members,” Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger said.

Employee Gertha Auguste said that just wasn’t enough.

“Because I’ve got two children,” she said. “I need more money to spend for day care, for food for my house, for everything.”

Employee Janette Weiss argued that workers deserve more for the work they do.

“We bring the magic to Disney, to all of these people,” she said. “Well, we need a little bit of magic ourselves to continue to make magic for everyone else.”

Dozens of Orange County deputies eventually showed up to disperse the ralliers, and the rally ended without incident.

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