Disneyland Workers Mull Strike Over Working Conditions

Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Some of the performers at Disneyland, the “Happiest Place on Earth,” claim that the resort’s poor pay and high risk of permanent injuries is making them miserable.

Four unions making up roughly 13,000 Disney workers have scheduled a strike authorization vote to combat what they told the National Labor Relations Board is unlawful intimidation, surveillance and disciplinary threats from the entertainment giant.

The July 19 vote is scheduled just a few months after Disney parade performers voted to join the Actors’ Equity Association in May, a feat an association spokesperson called a “dream come true.” Most other Disneyland employees, like cashiers and ride operators, were already unionized.

“Most people that you know that perform at Disneyland do have a permanent injury,” said Courtney Griffith, a parade performer in a new More Perfect Union documentary on Disney employees. “The magic starts to fade away and you're just left with not being able to pay my rent, permanent injuries, and management that doesn’t value or respect you.”

The last time Disneyland had a major strike was in Sept. 1984, which then cast members dubbed the “Friendliest Strike On Earth.” That picket line lasted 22 days and was the prelude for a $15 an hour living-wage law for any of the taxpayer-subsidized companies within the Anaheim resorts.

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