Disney could face the largest strike in the US this year after it was announced that thousands of theme park and hotel workers in California will vote on whether to stage a walkout.

Three trade unions representing 14,000 “cast members” at Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Downtown Disney and the Disney hotels announced a strike vote would be held next week amid negotiations over a new union contract.

In a critical statement, union leaders accused Disney of “unlawful discipline and intimidation and surveillance” of union members. The entertainment giant did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Talks over a new contract began in April. The following month, the unions filed unfair labor practice charges over cast members not being allowed to wear union buttons at work.

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

“We haven’t been able to move the company on the issues most important to our members,” said Andrea Zinder, president of UFCW Local 324, told the Los Angeles Times. “The unfair labor practices that Disney has committed are so egregious that they interfere with our ability to get a fair contract.”

The unions also cited a survey of workers, conducted earlier this year, which found that 28% of Disney workers reported experiencing food insecurity, 64% reported being rent burdened, and 42% of workers reported missing work for medical treatment because they didn’t have enough sick leave.

Workers are fighting for significant wage increases. The current minimum wage under the city of Anaheim’s living wage law is currently $19.90 an hour, which has raised workers’ wages from the $18 an hour they were paid under the expired contract.

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

2024-07-09T20:25:26Z dg43tfdfdgfd