LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Around 30 Disney workers gathered in protest of the coronavirus vaccine mandate announced by the Walt Disney Company earlier this summer, as the deadline to get vaccinated approaches.
Disney workers marched together, along Apopka Vineland Road. Nick Caturano, a Disney Server, organized the march.
"This is not whether to get vaccinated or not. This is about freedom of choice," he said.
"I work there, I show up, I work hard and I don’t feel that they should step on my right," said a woman who identified herself as Nicki K.
Caturano is hoping Disney will reconsider the vaccine mandate or even extend the deadline.
"I think it’s reasonable for a lot of people to be worried about these mandates and I’m hoping they’ll take a pause and consider what they’re about to do."
Caturano was a union leader at Local 737 but decided to part ways after they negotiated a deal to have workers fully vaccinated by October 22, or risk losing their jobs.
The union didn’t want to comment but posted a union leader post a video to Facebook regarding the vaccine mandate.
"We didn’t ask for this vaccine mandate, but we’re dealing with it. We’re facing it head-on and negotiating an agreement that protects as many people as possible in this really difficult public health crisis."
After 16 years, Nick said he is willing to take a chance on his job and speak out, adding that he is not alone.
"I have counterparts in Anaheim that reached out to me once we took a stance and they want to do something similar."
These Cast Members say they love their jobs but want a choice.
Nicki K added, "I’m happy to be part of the magic that is, and we’ll see how long that lasts."
Disney did not comment on the march. The company has previously said that getting vaccinated helps reduce the spread of COVID-19. It said the majority of non-union workers, salary and hourly have been vaccinated.
There are around 65,000 workers at Disney in Orlando. Those who marched in protest on Friday said they would continue to gather more support.
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