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Disneyland Character Workers at California Park Vote to Unionize

A majority of Disneyland actors who play characters such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse and dance in parades at the California theme park voted Saturday to unionize with the Actors’ Equity Association, the union said.

The Actors’ Equity Association, the national union that represents more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers, said it passed the required threshold in a vote overseen by the National Labor Relations Board, winning a majority of 79 percent with 953 votes yes and 258 votes against, according to a press release.

Among the key issues that brought workers together to fight for representation in future negotiations with the company were improved safety and schedules and the demand for a “living wage”, as well as other benefits, the union said.

“They say Disneyland is ‘the place where dreams come true,’ and for the Disney cast members who worked to organize a union, their dream came true today,” said Kate Shindle, president of the association of actors, in a press release on Saturday. .

In a statement released Sunday, a Disneyland spokeswoman said “it is premature for the company to comment on the results.”

Union leaders had already counted on a symbolic victory by uniting the workers who define the park experience for the many guests who interact and take photos with the beloved Disney characters.

“These workers are on the front lines of the customer experience; it’s human beings who create unforgettable memories when your children hug a character or when your family watches a parade in front of the castle,” added Ms. Shindle.

The unionization vote comes after other recent unionization efforts involving the entertainment industry and large corporations nationwide. In September, the Writers Guild of America, which represents more than 11,000 screenwriters, reached a tentative agreement on a new contract with entertainment companies, ending a months-long strike that, alongside a simultaneous strike of actors, had led to the cessation of television and film production.

On Friday, about 56 percent of workers at Mercedes-Benz plants in Alabama voted to reject the United Auto Workers’ organizing drive, despite the success of organizing drives elsewhere in the South, in Tennessee and North Carolina , This year. And in March, Starbucks and the union that represents its workers, Workers United, said they were beginning discussions on a “fundamental framework” to help them reach labor agreements.

Disneyland’s vote determined whether a group of 1,700 workers in Anaheim, Calif., who play characters, dance in parades, interact with park guests and train performers, could join the union. Most of the station’s workforce was already unionized.

The union represents performers and stage managers at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, as well as those at the Disney Theatrical Group on Broadway and who work on national tours.

If there are no challenges in Saturday’s vote, the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board will certify the results within a week, the union said, adding that the outcome of future negotiations will create a better experience both for workers and guests.

The Disneyland Resort, which opened in 1955, includes Disneyland Park and Disney’s California Adventure, three hotels and Downtown Disney, according to the union.

Gn entert
News Source : www.nytimes.com

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