Mickey Mouse, Cinderella Push Forward With Official Unionization Over Unfair Pay, Dangerous Living Conditions

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Split image: on the left, a neon sign "union yes" with a checkmark; on the right, Mickey Mouse in a tuxedo in front of Disney's Cinderella Castle at night

Credit: Inside The Magic

Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, and nearly 2,000 other Disney cast members are officially voting to unionize away from the House of Mouse as unfair pay and dangerous living conditions lead the charge to why they wish to unite under one purpose.

Image of a person dressed as Cinderella and a person suited as Mickey Mouse holding picket signs saying "unionize!" in front of the Disney company headquarters.
Credit: Inside The Magic

Coming to Disneyland in May — A Union Election for 1,700 Disney Character and Parade Performers

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has declared that an onsite union election will occur at Disneyland from May 15 to May 18 for Disney Cast Members engaged in character performances or parade duties at Disneyland, California Adventure, and Disney-operated hotels in Anaheim.

Last month, on April 17, a significant majority of the 1,700 individuals responsible for bringing Disney characters to life at Disneyland Resort’s parades, meet-and-greets, and character dining experiences petitioned for an election with the NLRB to seek union recognition under the Actors’ Equity Association as their collective bargaining representative. These Cast Members, encompassing performers, hosts, leads, and trainers, are convinced that their livelihoods and the overall guest experience at Disneyland could benefit from collective bargaining with their employer, The Walt Disney Company.

While most of the Disneyland workforce is already unionized, the absence of union representation notably persists within the Characters and Parades departments. This discrepancy is particularly striking given that their counterparts performing identical roles at Walt Disney World in Florida have been unionized for several decades. Voting for the union election is scheduled onsite at Disneyland on Wednesday, May 15, Thursday, May 16, and Saturday, May 18.

Mickey mouse waving in front of a colorful ferris wheel with mickey mouse design at a disney theme park during dusk.
Credit: Disney / Canva

Eligible voters will cast their ballots at three designated voting locations each day. Cast Members affiliated with either the Characters or Parades departments will be directed to a specific voting location based on their first scheduled shift for the week. The final election results are anticipated to be announced on the evening of Saturday, May 18.

While media representatives are restricted from accessing voting locations, union activists will be available for interviews throughout the election period. Further details regarding the announcement of the election results will be provided in a subsequent advisory.

Upon filing the petition for a union election with the NLRB on April 17, the Actors’ Equity Association President, Kate Shindle, stated, “Our objective is to bring a little more joy to ‘the happiest place on Earth.’ Equity has fostered a strong relationship with Disney, negotiating with them at Walt Disney World in Orlando and Disney Theatricals on Broadway and national tours. We eagerly anticipate engaging with their representatives across the bargaining table and collaboratively working towards making the Disneyland Resort a fairer and safer workplace.”

Mickey Mouse with Disneyland cast members in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Park.
Credit: Inside The Magic

Established in 1955, the Disneyland Resort, comprising Disneyland Park, Disney’s California Adventure, three hotels, and Downtown Disney, has become one of the most visited themed entertainment destinations globally. Actors’ Equity Association, established in 1913, serves as the U.S. labor union representing over 51,000 professional actors and stage managers.

Equity is committed to advancing the careers of its members by negotiating wages, enhancing working conditions, and offering a comprehensive array of benefits, including health and pension provisions. The potential unionization of Characters and Parade departments could signify several significant changes for Disneyland cast members and performers.

Unionization may lead to the negotiation of better working conditions, including fair wages, benefits, and job security for cast members and performers. This could result in more excellent financial stability and job satisfaction among these departments. By forming a union, cast members and performers gain collective bargaining power, allowing them to negotiate on equal footing with their employer, The Walt Disney Company.

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