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Thousands Of Disney Workers In California Vote To Strike

Disneyland Pink Castle. Anaheim, California

Disney faces a strike threat as thousands of California theme park and hotel workers prepare to vote on a potential walkout.

It could become the largest strike in the US this year. 

Three trade unions representing 14,000 "cast members" have announced an unfair labor practice strike vote.

The members are employed at Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Downtown Disney, and Disney Hotel.

The announcement comes amid ongoing negotiations over a new union contract.

Union leaders have accused Disney of "unlawful discipline, intimidation, and surveillance" of union members. 

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The entertainment giant has not yet responded to these allegations. 

Negotiations for a new contract began in April.

However, the unions filed unfair labor practice charges in May, claiming that cast members were not allowed to wear union buttons at work.

“The unfair labor practices that Disney has committed are so egregious that they interfere with our ability to get a fair contract"

Disney Workers Rising Bargaining Committee said: “Instead of working with us toward a fair contract, Disney has engaged in multiple instances of conduct we allege are unfair labor practices.

“These actions are only an attempt to stop us from exercising our rights and saddle us with a contract that perpetuates the status quo at Disney. 

“We won’t accept less than what we deserve because we know our value to Disney. 

“The theme parks’ profits come from our hard work making a trip to Disneyland a magical experience for guests.”

The workers are represented by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) Local 83, the Service Employees International Union-United Service Workers West (SEIU-USWW), the Teamsters Local 495, and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 324. 

Andrea Zinder, president of UFCW Local 324, said: “We haven’t been able to move the company on the issues most important to our members. 

A survey of workers conducted earlier this year revealed that 28 percent reported experiencing food insecurity, and 64 percent were rent-burdened.

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42 percent also missed work for medical treatment due to insufficient sick leave. 

Workers are fighting for significant wage increases, with the current minimum wage under Anaheim’s living wage law at $19.90 an hour, up from the $18 an hour paid under the expired contract.

Coleen Palmer, a cashier at Disneyland for over 30 years and a bargaining committee member, said: “We have people who work at Disneyland who have to choose between paying their rent or buying groceries. 

“There are people who go without medical care because they can’t afford it. 

“There are people who rely on food banks and churches for supplements. 

“This is a place where people want to work, but they want to be able to make a living doing what they’re doing and that’s what we’re fighting for.”

The current union contract expired on June 16, with strike authorization votes expected to be released on July 20.

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