Some Walt Disney World cast members who had been scheduled to be laid off will be able to keep their jobs, a coalition of unions representing those employees has announced. In addition, union reps say that they have negotiated a right to return for affected cast members, so that the recently announced layoff may not be permanent.
The Disney Parks, Experiences and Products segment announced last month that it would lay off 28,000 cast members across the country, due to the pandemic and its continuing affect on the tourism industry, including theme parks. The planned dismissals includes 6,390 non-union employees at Walt Disney World, as well as 2,765 non-union cast members in California. However, Disney needed to negotiate terms for the layoff among union-represented cast members.
Here is the letter that was just published by the Service Trades Council Union, which includes six unions representing approximately 43,000 Walt Disney World cast members.
"21,627 Full-Time Cast Members and 3,877 Part-Time have been recalled to their jobs during Disney's phased reopening.
"7,731 Full-Time and 9,106 Part-Time Cast members are currently on furlough status.
"On September 29, 2020, Disney notified the STCU that they had made a decision to change the employment status from furlough to layoff for 5,299 Full-Time and 8,857 Part-Time Cast Members.
"After several days of negotiations, the STCU is proud to announce that no Full-Time Cast Members will be forced to layoff status.
"Additionally, the STCU and the Company have agreed that there will be no permanent layoffs. Any Cast Members who are laid off in the future will retain their employment, their seniority, rate of pay including any scheduled increases, and the right to return back to previous job with the Company until October 1, 2022. This means that all Cast Members represented by the STCU will be given priority to return to their job prior to Disney hiring new employees off the street.
"Every Full-Time employee will be given the opportunity, in seniority order, either to return to their previous job if the business need exists or to select a new Full-Time position through a negotiated displacement transfer process. Those selecting a new position, and who do not have the seniority to immediately return to work, will remain on furlough and continue to receive health insurance.
"Only those Full-Time employees who do not participate in the displacement transfer process will be converted to layoff status.
"Cast Members who are converted to layoff status will be placed on a 60 day pay period using the same formula as was used under our previous MOU when Disney first announced the closure.
"We are disappointed to announce that 8,800 Part-Time employees also will be laid off. This is due to the fact that park attendance and resort occupancy have not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels and work does not yet exist for these employees. Laid-off Part Time employees will also have a contractual right to be recalled to their old jobs until October 1, 2022.
"'These are unprecedented times. It is unfortunate anytime a worker is laid off and the mass layoffs that Disney is facing are extremely difficult for 1000's of Cast Members. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure their speedy return to work. We are proud to secure healthcare for all Full-Time Cast Members and proud to preserve the seniority and recall rights of every Cast Member under our agreements.
'When you compare our strong agreement protections for all STCU Cast Members with what is happening to employees at other theme parks in Central Florida like Universal or Seaworld, there can be no question... the Union made the difference,' said Matt Hollis, President, Service Trades Council Union."
Update: Here is the statement from Disney: "As incredibly difficult as it is to take this action, this agreement helps us preserve many full-time jobs. For those affected by this decision, we thank you for all your dedication. While we don’t know when the pandemic will be behind us, we are confident in our resilience, and we hope to welcome back Cast Members where we can."
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