Disneyland Employee Unions Planning Protest Over Reopening

As the Disneyland Resort gears up to reopen in July, unions representing park employees are planning a protest.


Update: Disney Parks and Resorts has provided a letter sent to the Master Services Council, which represents 11,000 employees. In it, the company notes an agreement that was previously reached between the parks and the Master Services Council on June 23, the which includes how to handle the process of recalling employees, as well as safety measures to be taken. Among those measures are a focus on social distancing and facemasks.

"The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 according to the CDC and WHO is to focus on physical distancing, wearing effective face coverings and hand washing and sanitization. This continues to be where we are focusing as well," it reads. The company has also agreed to extend sick pay for employees it asks to self-quarantine.

Additional measures include reduced theme park capacity, temperature checks for both guests and employees--with employees checking at home with provided thermometers, and increased cleaning measures Other changes, which were noted in Disneyland's reopening proposal, was the temporary suspension of character meet and greets, parades, and fireworks shows, as well as physical distancing guidelines.

"As we have made clear in both our meetings and in our signed [memorandum of understanding], we have committed to ongoing dialogue regarding health and safety measures as this unprecedented situation continues to evolve," Disney's labor relations director Bill Pace and senior manager of labor relations Victoria Pearce say in the letter. "And in close coordination with government, health care officials and our own Company health and safety experts, once we have government approval, we look forward to welcoming our Cast and Guests back to the Disneyland Resort."

As for when they will be able to welcome guests back, that's currently unknown. While the company originally announced its hope to reopen the parks in California on July 17, that has been delayed. "The State of California has now indicated that it will not issue theme park reopening guidelines until sometime after July 4. Given the time required for us to bring thousands of cast members back to work and restart our business, we have no choice but to delay the reopening of our theme parks and resort hotels until we receive approval from government officials," Disney said in a statement.

Original story continues below.

California's Disneyland is currently on track to open its doors once more in July, though some of its employees are not ready to return. After sending a letter to California governor Gavin Newsom on June 17, the Coalition of Resort Labor Unions is now planning a protest on Disneyland property over concerns about employees and guests visiting the resort during the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

The news comes from The Hollywood Reporter, which explains that some unions representing Disneyland Resort employees are planning a protest on Saturday, June 27. From 10 AM to 12 PM PT, employees will circle the property in a caravan. According to the unions, this is being done "as an action to show our concerns regarding safety," According to THR. Invitations to the protest have been posted to Facebook.

Currently, Disney plans to open the Downtown Disney shopping district on July 9. Then, on July 17, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure will open, pending approval from state and local officials. Disney's Grand California Hotel and Spa, along with the Paradise Pier Hotel, will welcome guests on July 23.

The reopenings also come with new guidelines for visiting the parks, including a reduced capacity, mask requirements, and temperature checks. The new guidelines are in line with the ones in place at Universal Studios Orlando, which recently reopened. GameSpot's Chris E. Hayner recently visited Universal Studios to experience the new procedures, which led to a dramatically different theme park visit.

Disney's parks in Florida are also scheduled to open in July.

Image credit: Disneyland Resort

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