When Disneyland finally opened its gates once again on April 30, after being closed for a record 412 days, the theme park could only operate at a limited capacity. Because of those limitations, Disneyland Resort did not bring back the thousands of Cast Members they were forced to lay off and furlough during the pandemic.
Prior to the pandemic, Disneyland Resort employed around 32,000 Cast Members. Things have slowly been moving forward at The Happiest Place on Earth with the Resort’s phased reopening, and Disney announced that it has now brought 19,000 Cast Members to work at the Disneyland Resort (which encompasses Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure Park, the Downtown Disney District, and three onsite hotels — the Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa).
However, for the Unions representing thousands of the theme park’s Cast Members — including those who have been brought back to work, but also many who remain laid off — that number is simply not high enough. On top of that, they also believe that Disneyland should be paying its Cast Members a higher wage. In order to make themselves heard, the Union held a rally outside the Southern California theme park on Thursday, August 5.
The Orange County Register reported a statement from Disney, regarding the rehiring of thousands of Cast Members.
About 2,500 Disneyland cast members who had been furloughed or laid off last year returned to work in July, according to Disney officials. Disneyland has offered to rehire 85% of the cast members who were laid off or furloughed, Disney officials said.
“We are prioritizing laid off cast members with direct access to our recruiters for other employment opportunities,” according to Disneyland officials. “Furloughed cast members are continuing to receive company health care benefits.”
This is the second time in recent weeks that a rally has been held outside of Disneyland. On July 14, workers held a protest against “corporate greed”, claiming that, not only was Disney underpaying them, but their jobs were also being given to sub-contractors. When jobs are given to sub-contractors, Disney does not have to pay as much, nor do they have to offer any type of benefits.
A lawsuit against Disney was also recently granted class-action status. The lawsuit claims that Disney broke the law and did not pay its Disneyland employees the amount that it was required to pay according to a 2018 law. As of this article’s publication, there is no new information on how the case is progressing or if and when there will be a trial.
The 19,000 rehired Disneyland Cast Members represent about 60% of Disneyland’s total workforce. More Cast Members are slowly being brought back as more of Disneyland opens up. Disney has not said if they plan to ultimately bring back all 32,000 Cast Members that worked at the Disneyland Resort before the shutdown. However, per the Disneyland Careers page as of Friday, August 6, the Resort is hiring new employees.
Do you think Disneyland should be bringing back more Cast Members? Let us know in the comments!
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