Bernie Sanders joined Disneyland workers this weekend in Anaheim, calling out Disney CEO Bob Iger and demanding better wages.
While the Vermont senator commended Iger for cancelling ABC’s “Roseanne” following Roseanne Barr’s racially charged Twitter comments this past week, Sanders also argued that despite reporting $9 billion in profits last year, Disney has not paid its theme park workers a living wage.
“If a corporation like Disney has enough to pay its CEO over $400 million in a four-year period, it damn well has enough to pay its workers at least 15 bucks an hour,” Sanders said at River Church in Orange County. Sanders went on to call on Iger to seize on “the opportunity to lead corporate America away from the greed which is destroying this country.”
Sanders has made similar comments on Twitter:
Recently, Disney CEO Bob Iger did the right thing and cancelled Roseanne after her racist tweet.
I say to Mr. Iger: you have another opportunity to lead. Stand with working families by paying all your employees a living wage and making health care a right, not a privilege.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 2, 2018
According to the Orange County Register, Disneyland says that it has made an offer to Anaheim worker unions that would immediately raise entry-level employees’ wages to $13.25 an hour and raise it to $15 by 2020.
“We are proud of our commitment to our cast, and the fact that more people choose to work at Disneyland Resort than anywhere else in Orange County,” said spokeswoman Suzi Brown in a statement. “While Mr. Sanders continues to criticize Disney to keep himself in the headlines, we continue to support our cast members through investments in wages and education.”
Almost 3,000 union members and their supporters gathered in downtown Anaheim today for a panel discussion on the hardships faced by Disneyland workers. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was a special guest at the event. pic.twitter.com/wdz4RBU6VI
– UFCW 324 (@UFCW324) June 2, 2018
However, the unions are gathering signatures for a municipal ballot initiative that would require large companies taking subsidies from the city of Anaheim — namely Disney — to raise their minimum wage to $15/hour in 2019 with a $1 increase each year through 2022. Further increases based on the cost of living in the city would also be added as required.
In February, a survey conducted by Economic Roundtable and Occidental College found that 73 percent of Disneyland workers don’t earn enough to pay for rent, food and gas, and that 11 percent say they have been homeless or have not had their own residency in the last two years. Disneyland has disputed the survey’s accuracy.