Walt Disney Co. will raise starting pay to $15 an hour by next year for theme-park workers in California and offer wage increases of about 3 percent annually for those already making that amount through 2020.

Park employees, including ticket takers, custodians and food service workers at the company’s two resorts in Anaheim, California, voted in favor of the offer Thursday. The contract would apply to about 9,700 of the company’s 30,000 employees at the Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks.

The Master Services Council, a coalition of four Disney unions, recommended that its members approve the deal. This round of Disney theme-park worker negotiations has been particularly contentious on both coasts, with employees marching in protest over pay and commissioning a study of poverty among park workers.

The California unions canceled a planned protest fast outside the gates of Disneyland, according to the statement.

Some 38,000 Disney park workers in Orlando, Florida, rejected a raise to $15 an hour starting pay for new workers last year. The unions there are expected to resume talks with Disney on Aug. 15, according to Eric Clinton, president of Unite Here Local 362 in Orlando, which represents custodians, vacation planners and food services employees there. One sticking point is scheduling workers’ hours, Clinton said.

Disney is the world’s largest theme park operator with about 150 million visitors last year, according to an annual report published by the Themed Entertainment Association. The parks and resorts division generated $3.8 billion in operating income last year, about 25 percent of the company’s total. The company is the largest employer in Orlando and Anaheim.

 

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Photo Credit: Entry-level workers at Disneyland parks in California will make $15 an hour under a new contract approved this week. Pictured is a 63rd anniversary celebration at Disneyland Park earlier this month. Joshua Sudock / Disneyland Resort