Abigail Disney, the American documentary filmmaker and philanthropist has shared her opinions of The Walt Disney Company in the past. And yesterday, we reported how “livid” Abigail Disney felt after recently seeing what she alleged to be less than satisfactory working conditions for Disneyland employees. Now, Disneyland and The Walt Disney Company have responded to Abigail’s claims.
In a statement issued by a Disney spokesperson, they discuss the fact that Disneyland employs an estimated 30,000 cast members and pays a starting hourly wage of $15, which is higher than the California minimum wage requirements of $12 an hour. Additionally, they also bring up the fact that full-time employees are also offered low-cost health care benefits and childcare assistance.
In the statement, the spokesperson also went on to highlight the company’s newest initiative helping its employees advance in education, Disney Aspire. “Disney is at the forefront of providing workforce education, which is widely recognized as the best way to create economic opportunity for employees and empower upward mobility. The Disney Aspire initiative is the most comprehensive employee education program in the country, covering 100 percent of all tuition costs, books and fees so our hourly workers can pursue higher education free of charge, and graduate free of debt,” said the Disney spokesperson.
The statement later adds that Disney made a commitment of $150 million to fund the Disney Aspire initiative for the first five years, with plans to continue to make future investments. Disney also confirmed that employees have access to subsidized childcare and flexible schedules if they plan to participate in the initiative.
“American workers need meaningful change; they deserve smart policies and practical programs, like Disney Aspire, that empower them to achieve their goals and ensure they are part of the most competitive workforce in the world,” the statement concludes.
Abigail Disney discussed her recent claims against the company when she appeared on the weekly Yahoo! news show “Through Her Eyes,” which discusses contemporary news issues from a female perspective. In the interview, Abigail discussed that she had gotten a message from a distressed Disneyland worker, which inspired her to go undercover at the theme park to understand the grievances that employees of The Walt Disney Company face.
“Every single one of these people I talked to were saying, ‘I don’t know how I can maintain this face of joy and warmth when I have to go home and forage for food in other people’s garbage,’” she recalled in the interview, saying that it was not the work environment her grandfather Roy O. Disney sought out to create.
“I was so livid when I came out of there because, you know, my grandfather taught me to revere these people that take your tickets, that pour your soda,” she continued. “Those people are much of the recipe for success.”
Update (7/17): In a new statement to Inside the Magic The Walt Disney Co. says Abigail Disney’s claims are “baseless” expanding on the original statement reported here.
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Source: The New York Post