Unions at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort have revealed exactly how many of their members will be losing their jobs as Disney lays off 28,000 workers throughout its Parks, Experiences and Products division.
In Disney World, the Service Trades Council Union announced that 8,857 part-time employees represented by the union coalition will be laid off. According to STCU, Disney initially wanted to lay off nearly 5,300 full-time workers, as well, but for now the staff reductions will only affect part-timers.
“Additionally, the STCU and the Company have agreed that there will be no permanent layoffs,” STCU said in a press release. “Any Cast Members who are laid off in the future will retain their employment, their seniority, rate of pay including any scheduled increases, and the right to return back to their previous job with the Company until October 1, 2022. This means that all Cast Members represented by the STCU will be given priority to return to their job prior to Disney hiring new employees off the street.”
This is in contrast to non-union SeaWorld Orlando, where the park laid off 1,896 furloughed workers in September but then posted open jobs for some of the same positions. Fired employees are encouraged to reapply, but there’s no guarantee they’ll be given priority over other applicants.
STCU said that out of 43,000 members, 21,627 full-time and 3,877 part-time employees have been recalled to their jobs since Disney World reopened its theme parks in July.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, this announcement brings the total number of known layoffs at Walt Disney World to more than 15,500 people. The resort had employed 77,000 before the COVID-19 pandemic shut it down in mid-March.
At the Disneyland Resort, Teamsters Local 495 said it has been notified by Disney that 1,400 of their members will be permanently laid off. The union represents a wide range of workers at the resort, from ride operators to meet-and-greet characters to parking attendants. The news was first reported by Mice Chat.
Additionally, Mice Chat reported that the Independent Employee Service Association said Disneyland will lay off 478 security guards represented by the union.
Disneyland has remained closed since mid-March. Disney partially blamed the lack of reopening guidance from the state of California for the layoffs. The state’s theme park operators, including Disney, then called for further discussions with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration after disagreeing with the proposed guidelines.
“We’re going to let science and data make that determination,” Newsom said Wednesday. “I understand the dialectic, the friction, the frustration that many business leaders have — that they want to move forward sectorally to reopen, but we are going to be led by a health-first framework, and we’re going to be stubborn about it. That’s our commitment — that’s our resolve. We feel there’s no hurry putting out guidelines.”
Orange County, California, where Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm are located, reported 144 new COVID-19 cases and 3 deaths on Wednesday. The state of California as a whole reported 2,764 new cases and 51 new deaths.
Update: Late Wednesday evening, Disney’s chief medical officer Dr. Pamela Hymel released a statement criticizing Gov. Newsom’s earlier comments.
“We absolutely reject the suggestion that reopening the Disneyland Resort is incompatible with a ‘health-first’ approach. The fact is, that since March we have taken a robust science-based approach to responsibly reopening our parks and resorts across the globe. Our health and safety protocols were developed in consultation with epidemiologists and data scientists, and after considering guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and experts in local government and health agencies. All of our other theme parks both in the United States and around the world have been allowed to open on the strength of our proven ability to operate with responsible health and safety protocols.”
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