Union: 8,800 part-time Disney employees laid off as parks struggle

A union that represents thousands of employees at Walt Disney World Resort announced on Wednesday that 8,800 part-time employees will be laid off as the parks struggle to bounce back from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

The Service Trades Council Union (STCU) said that 8,880 part-time employees will be laid off due to the fact that park attendance and resort occupancy have not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels.

However, they also announced that they have come to an agreement with Disney that there will be no permanent layoffs. With that said, these part-time employees will have a contractual right though to be recalled to their old jobs until October 1st, 2022. 

During the reopening of Walt Disney World Resort following the COVID-19 shutdown, 21,627 full-time cast members and 3,877 part-time cast members were recalled to their jobs. However, 7,731 full-time and 9,106 part-time cast members are currently on furlough status. Disney notified the STCU on September 29th that they were going to change the employment status of 5,299 full-time and 8,852 part-time cast members from furlough to layoff.

However, after negotiating for several days with Disney, the STCU said that they have come to an agreement that no full-time cast members will be forced to layoff status and that there will be no permanent layoffs. Any cast members who are laid off in the future will retain their employment, seniority, rate of pay including any scheduled increases, and the right to return back to their previous job with the company until October 1st, 2022. 

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"This means that all cast members represented by the STCU will be given priority to return to their job prior to Disney hiring new employees off the street," the union explained. 

They went on to explain that every full-time employee will be given the opportunity, in seniority order, either to return to their previous job if the business need exists or to select a new full-time position through a negotiated displacement transfer process. Those who select a new position and do not have the seniority to immediately return to work will remain on furlough while still receiving health insurance. The only full-time employees who will be converted to layoff status will be those who do not participate in the displacement transfer process.

"These are unprecedented times. It is unfortunate anytime a worker is laid off and the mass layoffs that Disney is facing are extremely difficult for 1000's of cast members. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure their speedy return to work. We are proud to secure healthcare for all full-time cast members and proud to preserve seniority and recall rights of every cast member under our agreements," the union said. 

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