Character workers join actors’ equity

Character workers join actors’ equity

Another union is coming to Disneyland.

On Saturday, a majority of theme park workers voted to unionize with the Actors’ Equity Association in a National Labor Relations Board vote, bringing more employees at Disneyland into the union fold. 953 workers voted “yes” to join Equity, while 258 voted “no.” The parties now have several days to file any objections, and if no objections are filed, the results will be certified.

“They say Disneyland is where dreams come true, and for the Disney cast members who worked to organize a union, their dream became a reality today,” Kate Shindel, president of the Actors’ Equity Association, said in a statement Saturday. “The next step will be to collaborate with them on improving health and safety, wages, benefits, working conditions and job security. Then we will meet with representatives of The Walt Disney Company to negotiate those priorities in the first contract.

THR We have reached out to Disney for comment.

The vote, which was held between Wednesday and Saturday, sought to determine whether about 1,700 workers who play characters at the park and who cheer and dance in the parades, as well as employees who facilitate interactions between park-goers and the characters and train those performers, would join the shares. The guild — known for representing Broadway actors and stage managers — already negotiates on behalf of performers in shows at Walt Disney World, in Disney plays on Broadway and on national tours. The effort of those working on the character is Their first foray into Disneyland.

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Most workers at Disneyland are already unionized (represented by groups including the Service Employees International Union, Truck Drivers, American Union of Diversified Artists and others), but character workers have long been one of the few groups not represented by a labor union. group.

Kate Shindel, President of Equity, previously stated Hollywood Reporter The organizing campaign began when workers began to have workplace concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic, such as interacting with park visitors after a period of social distancing. “There are things that have been explained to me that are issues or concerns at Disneyland that seem very familiar,” Shindel said. THR. “Making sure the costumes are cleaned between the time someone takes them off and someone puts them on is something we deal with everywhere in traditional theaters and outdoor theatres.”

In addition to addressing safety concerns, organizers are also seeking to raise wages, adjust scheduling policies and make it easier to access health insurance in the union contract. (Disneyland workers already receive annual pay increases and health care benefits if they are full-time employees.)

Labor first announced their organizing efforts in February. After Disney Resort Entertainment refused to voluntarily recognize the group, workers filed a petition for a union election with the NLRB on April 17.

“These cast members are pro-union and pro-Disney, and they look forward to meeting with their employer across the bargaining table in a good faith effort to make both the work experience and the guest experience better,” Schendel added in her statement after workers officially voted to unionize on Saturday.

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