Disney offering hiring bonuses to cooks, bus drivers, housekeepers

chef mickeys character dining
chef mickeys character dining

For cooks and chefs looking for jobs, Disney is offering new incentives.

The company recently increased its signing bonus from $500 to $1,000 or $1,500 for new full-time and part-time employees in the culinary department, according to Disney.

“We offer them periodically and adjust incentives based on hiring needs,” Disney said in a statement.

Disney is also paying $500 for new housekeepers and bus drivers who get part-time or full-time work with the company, which is the country’s largest single-site employer.

Lifeguards who were hired at Disney in June and July were eligible for a $500 signing bonus.

Finding cooks and chefs can be challenging for companies.

“There’s resorts, there’s restaurants — all kinds of places for cooks to go, so it becomes competitive,” said Ed Chambers, president of the Service Trades Council Union, a union coalition that represents about 38,000 employees.

Chambers called Disney’s bonus “a real good incentive,” although he said he preferred the company to spread the bonuses among all employees’ salaries instead.

The bonus announcement comes as the STCU has signaled it wants to reopen wage negotiations this year, seeking what it calls “historic change” for hospitality wages locally.

The STCU includes six locals, with 36,000 members, which represent a range of service workers from housekeepers to bus drivers, lifeguards and cast members. But wage negotiations also have impact on how non-union employees are compensated.

The last time STCU held talks with Disney World was in 2014, and the company agreed to raise wages gradually to at least $10 an hour starting in 2016. Shortly after, the raises were extended to all of Disney’s approximately 70,000 Orlando employees, not just those represented by unions.

At other theme parks, SeaWorld is not currently offering hiring bonuses — although it has before — but offers other new rewards, such as allowing employees to experience animal releases, said a company spokeswoman. Universal Studios spokesman Tom Schroder declined to say if the company was paying hiring bonuses.

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