The Happiest Place On Earth: Disney Outsources More Jobs To Foreign Workers While Asking Existing Workers To Donate Part Of Their Wages To Support Lobbyists

There was a gut-wrenching moment in the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration this week as Leo Perrero, former Disney IT worker, broke down in tears as he recounted how the company fired him and his colleagues despite record profits so that the company could give their jobs to cheaper foreign workers. The video is below. The company then ordered them to train their replacements or lose their severance pay. At the same time, Disney CEO Bob Iger sent a letter to the remaining company’s employees, asking for them to donate money to support the company’s lobbyists in Disney’s political action committee, DisneyPAC. Disney has been at the forefront in securing draconian copyright laws and protections from Congress.

Perrero testified that

“During the holiday season of 2014, I was sent a meeting invitation by a prominent Disney executive. With an excellent review in hand along with company announcements of record profits my mind buzzed with thoughts of a promotion or a bonus . . . I walked into a small conference room with about two dozen highly respected fellow IT workers. The Disney executive made a harsh announcement to us all. . . . our jobs have been given over to a foreign workforce . . . In the meantime you will be training your replacements until your jobs are 100 percent transferred over to them and if you don’t cooperate you will not receive any severance pay. . . . The final period of the 90 days was the most disgraceful and demoralizing, as we had to watch the foreign workers completely take over our jobs. And we came to grips that the upcoming Disney jobs promise didn’t exist. Then finally on January 31st of 2015 we were forced to turn in our company badges, laptops and then ushered out the door.”

Perrier broke down as he recounted his experience and how only four of his colleagues were given jobs elsewhere in the company.

For those remaining, they received the letter from Iger who, despite record profits, hit up employees to support the company lobbyists. The 1998 copyright extension has even been dubbed the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act” because of Disney’s insatiable demand for added penalties and powers in preventing others from using words, images, and products deemed company property. Iger heralded the success of its army of lobbyists and lawyers in copyright victories. He added “In the coming year, we expect Congress and the Administration to be active on copyright regime issues, efforts to enact legislation to approve and implement the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, tax reform, and more proposals to weaken retransmission consent, to name a few.” He is probably right about his predictions of success judging from prior years.

59 thoughts on “The Happiest Place On Earth: Disney Outsources More Jobs To Foreign Workers While Asking Existing Workers To Donate Part Of Their Wages To Support Lobbyists”

  1. Not a fan of Disney. But, have they broken any laws? If not, move on. They are a business and can do what they want.

  2. I have been a regular monthly contributor to Bernie Sanders campaign since last fall. Last week my daughter and I switched parties at the Supervisor of elections office so that we could vote for Trump in the Republican primary. Why? For all of the aforementioned reasons, and because the oligarchy in America fear him, and he is the least likely candidate of the two parties to escalate our interventionist wars in the Middle East. And he doesn’t demonize or fear Putin.
    “A thousand ridiculous accidents needed to happen in the unlikeliest of sequences for it to be possible, but absent a dramatic turn of events—an early primary catastrophe, Mike Bloomberg ego-crashing the race, etc.—this boorish, monosyllabic TV tyrant with the attention span of an Xbox-playing 11-year-old really is set to lay waste to the most impenetrable oligarchy the Western world ever devised,” Matt Taibbi declared Wednesday at Rolling Stone.”
    In the general election I will vote for Dr. Jill Stein.

  3. In the more advanced and successful Democratic, Capitalist, Socialist, or the holy trinity nations, the government, corporate, and labor, whether they like it or not, work together. Corporations cannot simply import highly educated workers unless there are none to be found at the ready, home grown. Typically the country’s education systems provide the educated workers as the government/education system is working together with corporate, etc.

    This takes a certain long term perspective, a certain maturity, and a certain allegiance to one’s country, all which are missing in the US, the supposed land of the free and the home of the brave, not much upstairs but free and brave. Time to wake up folks. The first thing one does when one wakes up is to take a look around; see what’s being done right and what’s being done wrong. One doesn’t need to look too far to see what’s being done wrong. Unfortunately Americans think that everything worth knowing can be found within its borders. The result is America today, unlearned, ignorant of much potential success, and adamant to stay that way. Cuz gosh, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

  4. I gave up all interest in going to any Disney theme park some time ago. I don’t need any Disney entertainment, and I won’t enrich them with my money. Anybody who does is playing right into the hands of corporatocracy.

    ‘Justice Holmes’ is correct; Disney is NOT the only financial bully on the block trying to turn ordinary citizens into feudal serfs.

  5. I always thought, and, please, someone correct me if I am wrong, but my very limited understanding, with regard to H-1B visas, was that the employer acted as a sort of sponsor for the foreign employee coming to this country and attested (to the government) regarding his (the employer’s) inability and/or severe hardship in filling that same position with a readily available and qualified domestic worker. If that is no longer the correct manner in which these visas are granted, then, at least, it used to be, decades ago. If my assumption, however, regarding the employer’s need to stipulate a legitimate and pressing lack of readily available and qualified domestic workers to complete its job force still exists, wouldn’t Disney be in violation, in that it displaced its own highly qualified, productive, domestic employees to secure these H-1B visas? While there isn’t much of a difference, as far as outcome, when corporations move their jobs overseas–which only serves to excuse them from the bothersome task to obtaining H-1B visas for the new workers–the final result is still a loss of domestic jobs for the American worker; however, if the rules regarding these visas were blatantly violated by Disney, there should be consequences, and I don’t mean having Disney simply pick up its IT department and move it to India to avoid the visa debate altogether.

    The other issue, which seemed to jump out, was Disney’s promise to these workers, regarding additional and/or new jobs–a promise, which appears to have been made along with its demand that terminated employees stay with the company long enough to train the new workers. If an employee fulfilled his obligation and commitment to train the new, foreign workers and Disney, as promised, did not provide those additional jobs, can anyone spell breach of contract or detrimental reliance?

  6. Another reason why the American worker gets squashed in the middle of the Oreo Cookie of pressure is because on one side, they have government exponentially increasing the cost of doing business. Minimum wage, regulation, permits, Obamacare, property taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, corporate taxes…with Bernie chanting “more more more!” On the other they have executives with golden parachutes, enormous bonuses, and none of them invest their own money in the company anymore.

    It’s always the people in the middle who get squished.

  7. fnn:

    “Requirement to hire American workers first. Too many visas, like the H-1B, have no such requirement. In the year 2015, with 92 million Americans outside the workforce and incomes collapsing, we need companies to hire from the domestic pool of unemployed. Petitions for workers should be mailed to the unemployment office, not USCIS.”

    I disagree with Trump about many things, but finally someone addresses the fact that jobs need to go to Americans before importing more visa workers. There countries require that jobs have to be offered to citizens before a visa can be issued to a worker.


    “I am sure the republicans were licking their chops and congratulating Disney on their free market capitalist’ leanings.” OK. CA is a Democratic stronghold. We vote for higher minimum wage, higher benefits, more regulations, hurray for workers…but when Californians need to hire a nanny, landscaper, lawn mower, construction company, handyman, etc, who do they preferentially hire? Illegal aliens for cash under the table. Just drive by any construction site, and you will hear Spanish from workers, many of whom cannot even speak English. Same with nannies, lawn maintenance companies (who really know nothing about being an arborist or how to prune a shrub correctly!). It is not a trait specific to Republicans to bargain shop. Most people do it.

    How many people can walk through their house and not find most things stamped with “made in China”?

  8. This is sad, but true.

    If we continue to export skilled jobs, and import unskilled workers competing for entry level jobs, how will the prospects of the American worker change? One can already see the trend, in efforts to make a single minimum wage support a family in a middle class lifestyle. As opportunities drain away, we keep trying to make unskilled, entry level jobs support families. They just can’t.

    But the trend is that as it becomes more expensive to do business here, businesses move out of state, or they just export the jobs out of the country. The trouble with a global economy is that you can’t compete with a worker in Bangladesh making $1/hour.

    Now if Bernie becomes president, and he’s said a 90% tax rate is not too high, what do people think the employers will do? Inexplicably keep working 8 or 9 months out of the year just to pay taxes, to give people jobs out of the goodness of their hearts? If you don’t like the loss of American jobs, then don’t keep voting to make it more expensive to do business here.

  9. One doesn’t need to look to Disney for entertainment. One needs only watch the GOP debates. But even they are wearing thin. We boycott Sea World and Disney. That’s all you can do with these the ultimate businesses of free choice. It’s not like it was health care insurance or the health care industry.

  10. Disney is ripping out a significant part of the park to put in the new Star Wars exhibit and has already increased fees, although a third of the park will be unavailable for 2 years. As an adult, Universal Studios is more fun anyway.

  11. I never liked Walt Disney or any of his Disney Land places. His movies stink. I agee with jackW above.

    Job outsourcers. Sorcerers.

  12. Disney SCUM. No wonder people want Bernie and Donald. Disney EXPECTS TPP to be passed, along with other self-serving legislation? Counting their money and outsourcing their jobs while Rome burns. And burn it should.

  13. We don’t know what he’ll really attempt to do (like any POTUS) but here’s Trump’s official position on H1B visas:

    Increase prevailing wage for H-1Bs. We graduate two times more Americans with STEM degrees each year than find STEM jobs, yet as much as two-thirds of entry-level hiring for IT jobs is accomplished through the H-1B program. More than half of H-1B visas are issued for the program’s lowest allowable wage level, and more than eighty percent for its bottom two. Raising the prevailing wage paid to H-1Bs will force companies to give these coveted entry-level jobs to the existing domestic pool of unemployed native and immigrant workers in the U.S., instead of flying in cheaper workers from overseas. This will improve the number of black, Hispanic and female workers in Silicon Valley who have been passed over in favor of the H-1B program. Mark Zuckerberg’s personal Senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities.

    Requirement to hire American workers first. Too many visas, like the H-1B, have no such requirement. In the year 2015, with 92 million Americans outside the workforce and incomes collapsing, we need companies to hire from the domestic pool of unemployed. Petitions for workers should be mailed to the unemployment office, not USCIS.

  14. Walt Disney is just one example of how a company can be so focused on improving their bottom line figures that they forget to be grateful to their longtime, competent, loyal and decent employees. It is my contention that business executives who short cut valuing their hard working employees; and in the providing of exceptional service to their consumers in order to achieve a short time gain, are hurting their company’s long term value. These uncreative, hard nosed, self serving managers who resort to these tactics do not deserve their jobs, their double digit salary increases, and their huuuuge bonuses. The business news pundits who support these tactics need to look in the mirror as they watch in horror, the republican presidential contender, Donald Trump trouncing the competition because of the American middle class folks anger, which you guys helped kindle .

    Welcome to reality and the consequences of your short term, insular type thinking! What makes this so sad, is that Walt Disney, as an iconic American company, would ever entertain this tactic by following others in the world of bottom liner feeders instead of being a true leader with creative ideas. In short, with this action, they hurt their BRAND.

  15. I am sure the republicans were licking their chops and congratulating Disney on their free market capitalist’ leanings. No matter what kind of wall republicans say they want to build on the border they still encourage less expensive ‘legal’ foreign labor American job killers. These workers don’t care what size wall is built, they simply fly over it will the approval of a corporate congress.

  16. This is sad, WD must be rolling in his grave. We go there often and those workers (American) work really hard to see that you are having a good time. They should be taken care of and paid well, its not like a trip to Disney is cheap.

  17. And this is why I will not vote for another corporatist in the White House! This is why Trump is making such great headway! This is what the corporations want a demoralized populace with nothing to do but scratch for existence! It is an appalling situation.

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