ANAHEIM (CBSLA) — Disneyland union workers took to the streets Saturday morning to call for changes to plans for the resort’s reopening, which was delayed indefinitely this week.
The morning car caravan protest was organized by a coalition of resort labor unions representing around 17,000 workers at Disneyland, which has remained shuttered for three months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
CBSLA’s Joy Benedict reports that about a hundred cars caravanned around the empty Disneyland complex, honking for safety as the park continues to bargain with its various unions. So far it’s come to terms with 20 of its 26 unions.
“We’re known for our safety efforts anyway but I want the procedures to be strong because corona is serious,” said protesting Disney employee Glynndana Shevlin.
In the park there will be reduced capacity, face covering requirements for all cast members and guests— and temperature checks. But those who work the hotels, feel forgotten where similar rules aren’t yet in place.
“We are most likely the first people that will see guests as they come in,” said one Disney castmember. “It will make more sense to do temperature testing at the hotel first.”
Although negotiations between the unions and Disneyland are ongoing, the resort has not yet agreed to the reopening conditions asked for by the unions.
The labor coalition’s proposals center around testing guidelines, higher staffing levels to accomplish deeper cleaning requirements, electrostatic cleaning of rooms, and guarantees that managers will enforce CDC guidelines.
Disneyland issued a statement in response to the protest: “To date, 20 union affiliates have signed agreements that include health and safety measures such as additional sick pay, reduced park capacity and face coverings for guests and cast members, allowing us to responsibly bring back our cast as soon as possible. It’s incredibly unfortunate that some unions leaders are staging a caravan at the same time we are trying to get people back to work.”
Disneyland was scheduled to reopen on July 17 for its 65th year anniversary, but announced this week that it was postponing it because the state of California has not yet released its requirements for opening theme parks. The state says it will not release those guidelines until after the July 4th weekend.
The unions say now is the time to return to the bargaining table to find a way to reopen that’s safest for Disneyland employees.
Disneyland’s closure is proving to be a tough situation not just for Disney, but the area’s tourist industry in general.
“The employees, many of their unemployment benefits will run out in July,” says Disneyland “super fan” Dusty Sage, “All those hotels in Anaheim can’t reopen without Disney being in operation and sadly they’re the city with the largest number of Covid cases in Orange County so it really puts them in a difficult position.”