Disney has reached an agreement on 11 unions who represent the vast majority of Disneyland employees on returning to work — though reopening will still depend on receiving guidelines on California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The return-to-work deal settles disputes that Disneyland had left hanging when it first tried to reopen in July. The Coalition of Resort Labor Unions, whose members represent 17,000 Disneyland workers, had told Theme Park Tribune that it wanted Disney to provide regular COVID-19 testing.
The testing issue has since been resolved. Disney announced last week that it will provide free COVID-19 testing to employees at its theme parks and at Downtown Disney at local CVS drug stores. Starting Oct. 26, Disneyland employees can take an at-home, mail-in COVID-19 test as often as once a week.
Other components of the return-to-work agreement include:
- Recalling employees from furlough based on seniority
- Providing notification of recall at least 7 days in advance
- Temperature screenings for all employees; anyone with a temperature above 100.4 degrees will be sent home with pay
- Any cast member who has to isolate because of COVID-19 exposure to work will not be punished and will be paid
What Disneyland is still missing, just as it was in July, is reopening guidelines from the state. October has seen California Gov. Gavin Newsom receiving almost daily questions on reopening the state’s theme parks. The parks themselves have been uncharacteristically critical of state government, with Disney partially blaming the 28,000 layoffs being instituted across its theme park division — more than half of which are affecting the reopened Disney World — on the state not allowing theme parks to reopen.
In a Monday interview on CNBC, Disney CEO Bob Chapek again criticized the state’s lack of movement.
“We’d like to put our cast members back to work – as many of them as possible – as soon as possible if the government will let us,” he said.
On Tuesday, California health secretary Dr. Mark Ghlay said a team from the Newsom administration had visited theme parks in Orlando to see how other parks are implementing COVID-19 safety measures.