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Character Entertainers at Disneyland Resort Look to Unionize With Actors’ Equity

The people who bring to life many of the characters are looking to unionize. On Tuesday, an organization called “Magic United” announced the intent of Disneyland Resort entertainment cast member to unionize with Actors’ Equity Association. In a new website for the group, the cast members explained their reasoning behind the move. On the website they said, “Disneyland Resort Cast Members dedicate ourselves to making the Parks a place where every guest can create lifelong memories. We deserve a union to ensure that Disneyland is a fairer, safer place to work, so it can truly be the happiest place on earth.”

The main Magic United website says that “When we speak with a collective voice, we can have a clearer, more productive conversation with our employer. With Magic United, we can work together with each other and with Disney leadership to ensure our talents remain central to the Disneyland experience for the millions of guests we interact with each year.”

On the Magic United Action Network page, they shared that this effort to unionize exists to “make Disneyland a fairer, safer place to work. Magic United has straightforward priorities: Cast Member safety, appropriate compensation, clear and respectful communication, fair scheduling and job security.”

The main argument portion of the website wraps up by saying, “We are committed to proposing all of these positive changes, and we embrace our responsibility to engage in collective bargaining for the betterment of our workforce. While the path may present challenges, our steadfast commitment empowers us to adapt, learn and persist in our pursuit of achieving comprehensive and lasting improvements.”

“Disneyland is a very special place, where Cast Members create magic that attracts millions of guests every year. Disney workers are openly and powerfully invested in and loyal to the Walt Disney Company and its values; so it’s reasonable for them to expect ‘the happiest place on earth’ to pay them fairly and prioritize their health and safety. Unionizing is the collective pathway to ensuring that the magic makers share not only in the happiness, but in the $9.13 billion in quarterly ‘experience’ revenue that Disney announced to its shareholders on February 7,” said Actors’ Equity Association President Kate Shindle. “Equity already represents hundreds of performers at Walt Disney World in Orlando, and we have a long and successful bargaining relationship with Disney. We look forward to extending that work to include these Cast Members in Anaheim and applaud them for their incredible work on the campaign thus far.” 

Leaders of Magic United shared their choice of Actors’ United saying, “We chose Actors’ Equity Association as our union because we’ve seen how well they work with Disney in Florida, on Broadway and on tour. Our Walt Disney World colleagues exemplify how you can be pro-Disney and pro-union at the same time. Furthermore, the vast majority of our park colleagues here in Anaheim already have union representation. It’s a win/win: when we can speak with a collective voice, we can have a clearer, more productive conversation with our employer. Ultimately this will result in a better experience for all – Cast Members, managers and more importantly, our Guests.”

Disneyland officials said in response to the effort, “We believe that our Cast Members deserve to have all the facts and the right to a confidential vote that recognizes their individual choices.”