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Disneyland Characters Vote to Unionize

At Disneyland in Anaheim, California, the majority of cast members who work as characters, such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse, voted to unionize with the Actors’ Equity Association. On Saturday, these performers cast their ballots under the oversight of the National Labor Relations Board, with 953 voting in favor. This decision marked a significant victory for the workers, capturing a 79 percent majority and setting a new course for their professional landscape.

The Actors’ Equity Association, a prominent national labor union, represents over 51,000 actors and stage managers. The union emphasized that this vote surpassed the necessary threshold, heralding a new era of representation for the Disneyland cast members in forthcoming negotiations on critical issues like safety, scheduling, fair wages, and other workplace benefits.

Kate Shindle, President of the Actors’ Equity Association, encapsulated the sentiment of the day, stating, “They say that Disneyland is ‘the place where dreams come true,’ and for the Disney cast members who have worked to organize a union, their dream came true today.” She highlighted the essential role these workers play in crafting memorable experiences for park visitors, from the joyous hugs with beloved characters to the magical parade spectacles.

The unionization at Disneyland is part of a broader wave of organizing within the entertainment industry and beyond. Recent months have seen significant labor movements, such as the Writers Guild of America securing a new contract after a prolonged strike and mixed outcomes in union drives at Mercedes-Benz in Alabama and various facilities across the South.

This vote at Disneyland involved 1,700 workers who not only perform but also interact intimately with guests and train new performers, a cornerstone of the Disneyland experience. With the majority of the resort’s workforce already unionized, this move brings nearly all its workers under collective bargaining agreements, promising enhanced conditions for employees and enriched experiences for visitors.

If uncontested, the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board is expected to certify the election results within a week, solidifying a significant stride towards better work conditions and recognition for the individuals who make Disneyland truly magical. The implications of this decision extend beyond the gates of the park, resonating across sectors where workers seek a voice in their futures.

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