Disneyland Union Reaches Furlough Deal As Resort Closure Continues

Sleeping Beauty Castle - Disneyland

Workers United Local 50’s president says the union was able to “secure protections for signature benefits to be continued with no premium cost to the members.”

The Disneyland union said Thursday night that it had reached an agreement with the Walt Disney Company amid the park closure due to the novel coronavirus.

Workers United Local 50, which represents food and beverage workers in the Anaheim theme park, said “furloughs were inevitable” but that it was able to “secure certain guarantees from the Company.”

“Effective April 19, non-essential food and beverage members will be furloughed,” president Chris Duarte said in a letter to members. “Negotiated as part of a furlough we were able to secure protections for signature benefits to be continued with no premium cost to the members.”

He continued, “Pensions and full-time hours requirements will be protected with credited hours. The negotiated agreement has recall language to ensure that food and beverage operations will be with Local 50 members and will observe seniority.”

Disney officials announced March 27 that Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Disneyland Paris would be closed until further notice because of the outbreak.

Duarte told union members he had no inside information about the park reopening.

“Beyond securing the much-needed protections mentioned above, we, unfortunately, have no information about when the resort will be opened and members will return to work,” he wrote. “As things change, we will continue to update everyone as fast as possible.”

On April 2, the company said furloughs would begin for park employees. At the time, the union contract protected members against furloughs. There are at least 10,000 non-union employees impacted at Disneyland.

The burden of the parks being closed, however, was not placed solely on the shoulders of staff. On March 20, Executive Chairman Bob Iger announced he would forgo his entire base salary while recently named CEO Bob Chapek will take a 50 percent pay cut to his base salary amid the coronavirus pandemic. Additional executives also would be required to take pay cuts.

Other Disney unions have reached furlough deals with their members at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Full company benefits, including medical and education benefits, will continue to be offered to those furloughed during the closure.

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