Disneyland character and parade performers in California vote to join labor union

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Disneyland performers who assist deliver Mickey Mouse, Cinderella and different beloved characters to life on the Southern California resort selected to unionize following a three-day vote culminating on Saturday.

The Actors’ Fairness Affiliation labor union stated in a press release Saturday that forged members for the parades and characters departments at Disney’s theme parks close to Los Angeles voted by a large margin for the union to develop into the bargaining agent for the group of roughly 1,700 staff.

An affiliation web site monitoring the balloting amongst forged members indicated passage by 78.7% (953 votes) in favor and 21.3% (258 votes) opposed.

“They are saying that Disneyland is ‘the place the place desires come true,’ and for the Disney Forged Members who’ve labored to arrange a union, their dream got here true right now,” Actors’ Fairness Affiliation President Kate Shindle stated in a press release Saturday evening.

Shindle known as the employees the “entrance traces” of the Disneyland visitor expertise. The affiliation and forged members will talk about enhancements to well being and safey, wages, advantages, working circumstances and job safety earlier than assembly with Walt Disney Firm representatives about negotiating the employees priorities right into a contract, she stated.

The union already represents theatrical performers at Disney’s Florida parks.

Barring any election challenges, the regional director of The Nationwide Labor Relations Board will certify the outcomes inside per week, the affiliation stated.

The NLRB didn’t instantly reply to an electronic mail from The Related Press searching for affirmation or further details about the vote.

The election passed off on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday in Anaheim, California, after staff earlier this yr filed playing cards to kind the unit known as “Magic United.”

Parade and character staff who promoted unionizing stated they love serving to to create a magical expertise at Disneyland however grew involved once they had been requested to renew hugging guests after returning to work in the course of the coronavirus pandemic. They stated in addition they endure accidents from complicated costumes and erratic schedules.

A lot of the greater than 35,000 staff on the Disneyland Resort, together with cleansing crews, pyrotechnic specialists and safety employees, are already in labor unions. The resort consists of Disneyland, which is the Walt Disney Co.’s oldest theme park, in addition to Disney California Journey and the procuring and leisure district Downtown Disney in Anaheim.

Lately, Disney has confronted allegations of not paying its Southern California staff, who face exorbitant housing prices and sometimes commute lengthy distances or cram into small houses, a livable wage. Parade performers and character actors earn a base pay of $24.15 an hour, up from $20 earlier than January, with premiums for various roles.

Union membership has been on a decades-long decline in the US, however organizations have seen rising public assist lately throughout high-profile contract negotiations involving Hollywood studios and Las Vegas motels. The NLRB, which protects staff’ proper to arrange, reported greater than 2,500 filings for union illustration in the course of the 2023 fiscal yr, which was the best quantity in eight years.

The hassle to arrange character and parade performers in California got here greater than 40 years after those that play Mickey, Goofy and Donald Duck in Florida had been organized by the Worldwide Brotherhood of Teamsters, a union historically identified to symbolize transportation staff.

At the moment, the Florida performers complained about filthy costumes and abuse from company, together with kids who would kick the shins of Disney villains resembling Captain Hook.

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