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In a recent victory for Disneyland Resort cast members, 1,700 workers voted to unionize under Actors’ Equity Association after a three-day voting period. The unionization effort, announced in February and filed for a vote in April, received overwhelming support from the cast members, with 953 in favor and 258 opposed. This group of workers, who portray iconic Disney characters and perform in parades, will now have the opportunity to collaborate on improving health and safety standards, wages, benefits, working conditions, and job security.
The National Labor Relations Board is expected to certify the results of the vote next week, at which point contract negotiations with The Walt Disney Company will commence. Disney has been relatively cooperative throughout the process, and Equity is optimistic about establishing a productive relationship with Disneyland Resort. While the company has not yet commented on the unionization vote, a spokesperson stated that they respect the opportunity for cast members to have their voices heard in this process.
This unionization effort marks a significant milestone for Disneyland Resort cast members, who were previously excluded from representation by other unions at the park. The workers who play characters like Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, and Snow White are integral to the guest experience and create lasting memories for visitors. Actors’ Equity Association President Kate Shindle emphasized the importance of improving working conditions and benefits for these frontline workers, highlighting the positive impact they have on guests’ experiences at the park.
In contrast to the recent developments at Disneyland Resort, Disney World character actors have been represented by Teamsters since the 1980s. Additionally, over 400 actors, stunt performers, and singers at Disney World in Orlando have been unionized under Equity since 1990. The continued success of unionized workers at Disney World demonstrates the potential for positive outcomes through collective bargaining and representation. Equity estimates that they currently represent around 800 cast members at Disney World, further illustrating the impact of organized labor in the theme park industry.
The unionization of Disneyland Resort cast members adds to the growing movement of theme park workers seeking better employment benefits and representation. With more than 21,000 “cast member” employees at Disneyland represented by various unions, the addition of Actors’ Equity Association will further strengthen the collective voice of workers at the park. The successful vote for unionization reflects the commitment of these frontline workers to improving their working conditions and securing fair treatment in the workplace.
As the certification of the unionization vote approaches and contract negotiations with Disney commence, there is hope for positive changes in benefits, wages, and working conditions for Disneyland Resort cast members. The support from Actors’ Equity Association and the collaboration with Disney throughout the process bode well for a productive relationship moving forward. By coming together to advocate for their rights and interests, Disneyland Resort cast members are taking an important step towards greater empowerment and representation in the workplace.

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