Actors’ Equity Releases Statement on Disney Layoffs

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Festival of the Lion King

Credit: Disney

Yesterday, news broke that many Disney Parks entertainment Cast Members had received layoff notices. These notices were part of the previously announced 28,000, but notification emails have been sent in waves.

festival of the lion king
Credit: Disney

Related: Entertainment Makes WDW Unique – Are the Layoffs Temporary?

Now, Orlando area reporter Ashley Carter has shared a statement from the Actors’ Equity union. It reads:

“Our hearts go out to all the cast members at Walt Disney World,” said Kate Shindle, president of Actors’ Equity Association. “Disney has made it clear that our members would face work reductions since they announced layoffs of nearly 28,000 employees. That does not make this news nay less painful. These reductions are another tragic reminder thatn until the virus is brought under control with a national strategy for masks, testing and contact tracing, everyone who works in the arts needs help like extended pandemic unemployment insurance and federal COBRA health insurance subsidies.”

“Before the pandemic, about 780 Equity members were employed at Walt Disney World, either full time, part time or seasonally. About 60 are currently working or about to return to work in the park. About 720 Equity member workers have now been laid off. According to the new MOU [Memorandum of Understanding, or Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)] with Disney, these laid-off members maintain recall rights until the end of 2021.”

It is not yet known if the Actors’ Equity Association has plans to attempt to negotiate any new terms with Disney amid these layoffs.

The Walt Disney Company has not yet issued a statement specifically pertaining to this latest round of layoff notifications. It is not yet known if the impacted stage shows and street performances — including Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Beauty and the Beast Live, Turtle Talk With Crush, Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo The Musical, Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, Citizens of Main Street, and Citizens of Hollywood — will be back at any point in the near future.

Related: Cast Members Speak Out Against Equity, Ready to Return to Work

Although many Disney Parks fans knew entertainment layoffs were likely to be coming at both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort, the news is still difficult to process for those who love the magic that only Disney theme parks can provide.

beauty and the beast live on stage
Credit: Disney

If you would like to assist any of the Cast Members who have been impacted by Disney’s mass layoffs, check out this guide to ways you can offer help no matter where you live.

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