Tourists in Anaheim, California were given a unique insight into “The Happiest Place on Earth” this week. As they entered the park, they walked by Disney characters Cinderella, Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Snow White and others handcuffed and waiting to be bused away to jail. They are workers protesting the move by the company to make health benefits unaffordable for many workers.
The workers had walked from hotel properties and sat in a circle holding hands in an intersection until they were arrested for failure to obey a police officer and traffic violations.
The union represents about 2,300 maids, bell hops, cooks and dishwashers at three Disney-owned hotels: the Paradise Pier, the Grand Californian and the Disneyland Hotel.
Ada Briceno, president of Unite Here Local 681, which represents the workers says that Disney pays less and gives less in health care. Briceno says that Disney wants to eliminate the free health plan for new hires and wants to create a new class of workers who put in less than 30 hours a week (who would receive no sick or vacation pay and not be given holidays). The company would also increase the number of hours that full-time employees must work before qualifying for the health plan.
Disney spokeswoman Lisa Haines said “Publicity stunts are not productive and are extremely disruptive to the resort district.” Disney was obviously hoping for the happiest protest on Earth.
In the meantime, Disney’s profits are way up this quarter and appears to be gaining from higher fuel costs, click here.
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