In addition, Disney is investing $50 million into a new and ongoing education program specifically designed to cover tuition costs for hourly employees.
All full and part-time non-executive employees, either hourly or salaried, who have been with The Walt Disney Company since Jan. 1, 2018, and are based in the United States will be paid a one-time $1,000 cash bonus.
Employees will receive the bonus in two payments, the first in March and the second in September of this year, according to Disney.
In keeping with applicable federal law, the Company will work with union representatives regarding potential distribution plans for employees currently working under existing union contracts.
Disney’s new education initiative is aimed at its hourly workforce in the United States. Nearly 88,000 hourly employees will be eligible and can utilize the program.
With this new plan, participants can pursue qualifying higher education or vocational training, including courses unrelated to their current responsibilities at Disney.
“I have always believed that education is the key to opportunity; it opens doors and creates new possibilities. Matched with the $1,000 cash bonus, these initiatives will have both an immediate and long-term positive impact,” Iger said.
The Company’s current educational reimbursement program, which is open to all full-time employees, will continue and remain unchanged.
Disney joins a list of other companies providing cash bonuses and stick options to employees after the Federal tax reform, which cut corporate rates to 21 percent.
Some of the other companies handing out one-time bonuses include: American Airlines, AT&T, Comcast, Jet Blue and Walmart.
Disney World union members and the theme park are still at odds over a recent two-year contract offer. The union in December voted down a recent offer. The Service Trades Council Union, a coalition of six unions that represents about 36,000 Disney employees are seeking cost-of-living raises for longtime cast members and simplified schedules for pay increases. They are looking to speed up when starting pay for cast members will be $15 an hour. Currently, members would get to that level in 2028.
In 2014, Disney and the union negotiated a minimum wage of $10 for cast members and the contract allowed the union to reopen wage talks in 2017.