Walt Disney World Offers Signing Bonuses to Recruit New Cast
Walt Disney World casting channeled their inner Oprah this week with the announcement of $1000 signing bonuses to recruit housekeeping and kitchen cast members. The resort appears to be in the same boat as most U.S companies; business is back while labor is not.
Housekeeping staff and line cooks can received the signing bonus if they stay on the job for at least 90 days. Those roles also pay $16 per hour for housekeeping and $18 per hour for cooks.
Bringing Back Cast Members Quickly
Disney also restarted its popular college intern program. This will bring hundreds of young workers to the Orlando region to help with anything from food and beverage to those coveted entertainment roles.
“About 33,000 of the more than 41,000 members of the Service Trades Council Union have returned to work” at Walt Disney World, said STCU president Matt Hollis in an article published by Bloomberg.
This is a significant shortfall considering the parks are quickly returning to normal. Disney laid off over 32,000 workers at the start of the pandemic. Disney says they have rehired 75% of them and now have a plan to get 300 cast members a week back on the payroll.
Signing Bonus Hopes to Help Struggle
One of the main reasons for the slow return to work is the unprecedented unemployment benefits offered by the federal government. In Florida, those benefits expired June 26th. However, California has committed to continue them through September.
Another reason cited by California labor unions in the article is Disney’s quick removal of COVID safety protocols. Both Disney World and Disneyland swiftly removed mask requirements, social distancing and temperature checks after the CDC adjusted their guidelines. Given the volume of visitors in the parks, many unvaccinated workers considered these the last line of defense for their health.
Other travel and entertainment companies are feeling the labor squeeze as well. Six Flags also added a $1000 signing bonus while Southwest upped its minimum wage to $15, more than double the requirement of the U.S government.
“[I expect this to be] the strongest summer for leisure travel in the chain’s history,” said Hilton Worldwide Holdings CEO Chris Nassetta in the Bloomberg piece.
Eventually supply always meets demand. However, the curve will be very steep to coax the U.S labor market out of their homes and back on to Main Street U.S.A. One thing that we do know: Guests are definitley ready to visit the Disney resorts.