Disneyland Is Definitely Not the Happiest Place on Earth

In a 2018 survey of Disneyland employees, 73 percent said they didn't earn enough to cover basic living expenses

Disneyland Is Definitely Not the Happiest Place on Earth
Photo:Jae C. Hong (AP)

Disneyland employees are participating in a class-action lawsuit in an attempt to get the park to raise their wages, reports SFGate.

The suit, which was organized by a number of Disneyland employee unions, alleges that Disney should be held to Measure L, a law stating that any private business in Anaheim that receives city subsidies is required to raise its employees’ wages to $18/hr by 2022. Although the introduction of Measure L led Disneyland to make some changes to its overall compensation structure in 2018, including raising its starting wage for cast members to $15/hr, employees at the park are still not making a living wage—especially after recent changes have limited the tips that certain employees can receive. The class-action lawsuit will decide whether the $550 million that the city of Anaheim contributed towards the construction of Disneyland’s Mickey and Friends garage in 2000 counts as a city subsidy—something that both Disneyland and the city of Anaheim deny.

A 2018 survey of 5,000 Disneyland “cast members” entitled “Working for the Mouse” found that many of the park’s employees struggle financially due to low wages. Sixty-eight percent of Disneyland employees surveyed were food insecure and 73 percent said they did not earn enough to cover basic living expenses, while 11 percent reported experiencing homelessness within the prior two years. Due to the unpredictability of the Disneyland working schedules, it’s typically impossible for employees to pick up second jobs.

Regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit, Disneyland is undoubtedly in the wrong here for refusing to pay its employees a living wage.

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