More Disneyland cast members opt in for a union

April 17, 2024, 2:27 PM · Here's an update on a story I shared with you in February. The Actors' Equity Association had launched a labor organizing campaign with Disneyland character and parade performers. Today, Equity announced that it has secured enough union authorization cards from Disneyland cast members to trigger a union election with the National Labor Relations Board.

"The Cast Members who bring the Characters and Parades to life have been non-union since Disneyland Resort opened in the 1950s and have watched other workers in the park unionize all around them," Equity President Kate Shindle said. "These performers, and the Hosts, Leads and Trainers who create magic alongside them, know that their lives – as well as the Guest experience at Disneyland – can be improved through collective bargaining. They deserve a voice in their workplace, and meaningful negotiations over wages, benefits and working conditions."

Equity said that a supermajority of 1,700 eligible cast members had signed to the organizing effort, which is operating under the name Magic United. Unless Disneyland voluntarily recognizes the union, the next step would be a union authorization election run by the NLRB. That would likely happen in May or June, Equity representatives said.

If the union wins that election, contract negotiations would begin, with Equity representing the cast members.

"Equity has a very good relationship with Disney," Shindle said. "We negotiate with them at Walt Disney World in Orlando, and with Disney Theatricals on Broadway and national tours. We look forward to meeting with their representatives across the bargaining table, and together, making the Disneyland Resort a fairer and safer place to work."

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Replies (4)

April 17, 2024 at 5:16 PM

If companies would just do the right thing, we wouldn't need unions.

April 18, 2024 at 8:18 AM

It's no coincidence that wages and union memberships have fallen in the last 50 years.

April 18, 2024 at 10:05 AM

The people in entertainment at Disney should be very wary of this decision on their parts. I do agree that as performers they should be recognized in a Union just as other professional actors, dancers and the like are. However, the Mouse is currently cutting budgets left and right. Corporate is cutting what they perceive as the β€œfat” and non essentials are the first to go. Parades are an extra added attraction and HUUUUGE expense and with Union wages will only get more expensive to run. Disney is dealing with the Disney+ debacle and bomb after bomb at the box office (seriously, how in the world do you actually lose hundreds of millions on an Indiana Jones movie?) Trust me that parades will be one of the extra niceties to be cancelled or severely cut back in the coming years.

April 18, 2024 at 11:14 AM

I've been in a union for almost 25 years for my UPS job. For the most part, I enjoy it for the insurance and other benefits. Last year, contract issues led to almost strike but a new contract with extra money/benefits, etc so we celebrated.

And then UPS announced layoffs and cuts for revenue issues. Which means the center I've worked at in my entire time is going to be shut down and I'll be moved to another one about ten miles out of my way.

Yes, unions are good and often needed but never underestimate management finding a way to undercut what influence they can have.

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