Disneyland Resort Labor Relations Leadership Meeting With Union Leaders; Furloughs Reportedly “Going to Happen”
After news this week broke that non-union Disneyland Resort cast members will be furloughed effective April 19th, resort leadership is in talks with union leaders about the furloughing of union staff as well, according to The Orange County Register‘s Brady MacDonald.
Workers United Local 50 president Chris Duarte told MacDonald, “We’re in active talks with the company. The company’s initial offering is benefits protection during a furlough.”
The furloughs are a result of the Disneyland Resort being closed “until further notice” due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Non-union resort cast members were announced to be “short-term” furloughed, alongside non-essential Disney Cruise Line, Disney Store, and Film Studio employees. During the furlough, Disney will continue to maintain health and insurance benefits coverage, paying both employer and employee contributions, as well as allow access to the educational program for those enrolled in Disney Aspire.
Workers United Local 50 sent a letter to its members, claiming that the talks between Disney and the unions “will continue through the weekend.”
According to that letter, “the company is proposing to furlough all non-essential union members effective April 19th. This furlough is not a layoff or termination of members. This will help ensure members’ jobs and seniority. When the park reopens to guests, Local 50 members will be the ones that serve them.” The letter also added that Disney began the talks “as part of our commitment to our collective bargaining agreements,” and that all of the unions that represent resort cast members are working together in these negotiations.
MacDonald reports that Disneyland’s union cast members comprise “at least 28,000 of the 31,000 cast members” at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. Workers United Local 50 alone represents 7,850 food and beverage workers at the resort, while the Coalition of Resort Labor Unions represents over 20,000 theme park cast members.
As of the writing of this article, the furlough for union cast members has yet to happen, though Duarte considers it an inevitability, saying “the furlough is going to happen to union members as well as non-union members.” However, with negotiations being ongoing, he admits, “none of this is in stone yet.”
One of the biggest issues in these negotiations is job security for union members once the resort reopens to guests. Until then, Duarte says that union members will be recommended to apply for unemployment.
Union officials believe that furloughed Disneyland cast members will be eligible for state unemployment, including the boost to unemployment by the federal government that was part of Congress’ $2 trillion coronavirus package, signed into law last week.
Keep reading WDWNT and Disneyland News Today for continuing coverage of this ongoing story.