End Poverty at Disney

Report details how 74 percent of Disneyland workers run out of money by the end of the month and can’t make ends meet

Disneyland has long been a place where dreams are made possible- where people hope to experience a unique blend of fantasy and history, and sometimes a bit of magic.  We, the USWW members that work at Disney, feel a sense of pride in helping families create memories- but our employment has come at a cost. In recent years Disney has been putting profits over people in a way that is forcing us all to wake up to a new reality. As unions representing Disney workers, we have been bargaining for years with one of the biggest corporations in the country.

Disney, despite making billions in profits, has increasingly been asking employees to survive with less. In some cases that now means less than a living income, less healthcare and less than full employment.

A recent study by shows us all exactly how stark the situation has become. “Working for the Mouse: A Survey of Disneyland Employees,” was released by researchers at Occidental College and the Economic Roundtable in early 2018. It summarizes the findings of a survey of 5,000 employees who work at the Disney resort and theme park in Southern California.

The study found that employees are paid so little, one in ten employees has experienced homelessness recently and two-thirds of park workers don’t have enough food to eat three meals a day.

“I love my job, and I take great pride in working at Disney.  I’m a licensed professional whose position requires years of experience – yet my wages are so low I often have to choose between food and a roof over my head” said hair and makeup artist Rebekah Pederson. “I recently lived in my car for three and a half months, and I’m currently homeless again. I’m also a Type 1 diabetic and they had been switching me between part-time and full-time to curtail my benefits, so my healthcare situation has been overwhelming.”

Walt Disney once said, “I never fire a man who is honestly trying to deliver a job. Few workers who became established at Disney ever leave voluntarily or otherwise, and many have been on the payroll their whole lives.”

Unfortunately, the respect that Walt talked about in his time is on the decline. So many of us are proud of the work we do and literally fight with economic difficulties so we can stay at Disneyland at our jobs. Its time for Disney to pay that respect back to us. They need to emphasize mutually respectful relationships with all Disney employees and work to maintain the type of working conditions a model company can be proud of.

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