Disneyland cast members announce plans to form a union

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Disneyland cast members make moves to unionize

Disneyland cast members make moves to unionize 02:10

Actors at Disneyland who perform as Mickey and Minnie Mouse, as well as other costumed characters at the California theme park, said Tuesday they are moving to form a union.

Calling themselves “Magic United,” the cast members seeking to organize announced they are working with Actors’ Equity Association, a union representing 51,000 theater actors and stage managers across the U.S. Although most of the roughly 35,000 workers at Disneyland already have labor unions, about 1,700 performers and character actors do not, the labor group said.

The effort is in its early stages, with organizers having only just begun circulating union cards to the cast members this week, according to Actors’ Equity. If a majority of workers sign the cards, the group plans to seek voluntary recognition for the union from Disney Resort Entertainment, which oversees Disneyland. 

“Disneyland is a very special place, where cast members create magic that attracts millions of guests every year,” Actors’ Equity Association President Kate Shindle said in a statement, noting that the union already represents performers at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. “Disney workers are openly and powerfully invested in and loyal to the Walt Disney Company and its values, so it’s reasonable for them to expect ‘the happiest place on earth’ to pay them fairly and prioritize their health and safety.”

Magic United’s main demands include higher pay, a safe and sanitary workplace, and transparency in scheduling and rehiring, according to the group. 

Disney operates two theme parks — Disneyland and Disney California Adventure — and a shopping and entertainment area called Downtown Disney in Anaheim. Disneyland, the company’s oldest park, was the second-most visited theme park worldwide in 2022 with 16.8 million people coming through the gates, according to a report by the Themed Entertainment Association and AECOM.

Disneyland officials said in a statement that they believe cast members deserve the right to a confidential vote.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Megan Cerullo

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Megan Cerullo is a New York-based reporter for CBS MoneyWatch covering small business, workplace, health care, consumer spending and personal finance topics. She regularly appears on CBS News Streaming to discuss her reporting.

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