Universal hikes base pay to $15 an hour at Florida resort

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Universal Orlando Resort announced Thursday that it’s raising the starting minimum wage at the Florida theme park complex to $15 an hour.

Universal says the higher wages apply to both full and part-time workers starting June 27. That makes Universal the first resort in central Florida’s theme park mecca to raise its base pay to $15 an hour, though unionized workers at its cross-town rival, Walt Disney World, three years ago approved a contract raising the hourly minimum to $15 by October 2021. Universal workers aren’t unionized.

The wage hike applies only to the Florida resort and not to its other parks, Universal spokesman Tom Schroder said in an email. But other employees among its 21,000-person workforce also will gain pay increases, based on job requirements and their time at the resort, the company said.

The resort is now hiring thousands of workers for what is expected to be a busy summer fueled by pent-up demand from the pandemic.

“We are excited about our future and we want team members who will be excited to be part of that journey,” said John Sprouls, chief administrative officer for Universal Parks & Resorts. “This is about taking care of both our current team members and those who will be joining our team.”