44% of Universal Team Members Worry About Eviction Amid Poverty Crisis, According to New Study

For many, working at the theme parks is a lifelong dream.

Universal Hollywood

Seeing the ins and outs of theme park operation and beloved rides as well as making vacations special for the countless visitors makes the experience a dream job for a lot of folks. However, working in theme park operations has proven to be unsustainable for a lot of people over the last few years. Cast Members at the Disney Parks have been rallying for higher pay and Union negotiations that promise livable wages for years. Now, the spotlight is on Universal Studios Team Members.

The Hollywood Reporter interviewed a few folks that are familiar with the ongoing poverty crisis that is currently taking place at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Universal Hollywood

The article shares the story of Evelyn Arceo, an 8-year veteran at Universal Hollywood and a mother of four. She works more than 40 hours each week, bringing home overtime pay as well as her typical $19 per hour wage, and still struggles to simply live.

Universal Hollywood

Her car was repossessed, her phone service was turned off, and she struggles to pay rent, other bills, and take care of her children. She shared that she even worries about having enough quarters for the laundromat.

Princess Peach Castle

According to a study at the UCLA Labor Center, Arceo’s story is similar to that of countless other Team Members. The study findings reveal “widespread poverty.” 44 percent of workers reported that they worried about eviction while over half have even changed their eating habits.

Universal Hollywood

Twenty-five percent of Team Members have received benefits via food stamps, food banks, or other food donation programs. On top of this, the Team Members worry about masking their issues from park guests.

Amity Island on the Universal Studios Hollywood Tram Tour

Universal cook Anthony “Sarge” Monteverde Jr. said, “The guests at the park, they see us smiling — they don’t see the stress we’re under because of what we’re paid, what that means.”

Jurassic World: The Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood

UCLA Labor Center project director Victor Narro has researched low-wage work for decades. He said, “We suspected there were issues. But at these levels? Universal Studios is a major tourism attraction. It generates a lot of wealth. You wouldn’t think these problems would be so prevalent and intense there.”

We’ll continue to monitor the news regarding the situation — both at Universal and Disney. Make sure to follow along so that you’re always in the loop.

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