Universal Orlando to raise minimum pay to $12 an hour

Universal Orlando Resort. (Photo: WFTV.com)
Universal Orlando Resort. (Photo: WFTV.com)

The Universal Orlando Resort said Thursday it will raise starting pay for its employees to $12 an hour, beginning Feb. 3.

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"(We) will continue to review and adjust our rates so that we stay competitive in the market," said Bill Davis, the resort's president and chief operating officer, in a letter to employees.

Also on Thursday, about 100 Walt Disney World workers rallied outside the Universal Orlando Resort, asking for raises for their Universal counterparts.

"They work hard like us," said Gurthe Auguste, a Disney housekeeper. "They pay bills. They have families like us. We need a raise for them."

ExploreAfter more than a year of negotiations, Disney and the unions that represent 38,000 of its workers in August reached a deal that will raise minimum pay from $10 to $15 by 2021.

The union members said they want other theme parks and hotels to follow suit.

"We're fighting for the whole community," Disney worker Boletha Jarrett said. "We want this community to move up. We won at Walt Disney World, and we want them to win, too."

Disney worker Krysta White said her employer has set the standard.

"We have a pathway out of poverty," she said. It's great that Universal has taken that first step, but we want to push them to go all the way. We're looking for $15 by 2020."