Disneyland performers vote to unionize

Disneyland Resort performers have overwhelmingly voted to unionize, following their counterparts at Walt Disney World in Florida, the National Labor Relations Board announced this weekend.

Cast members who perform as characters or dance in parades and the hosts, leads and trainers working with them at Disneyland Park, Disney's California Adventure, three hotels and Downtown Disney voted 953-to-258 to be represented by Actors' Equity Association, according to unofficial figures released by the union representing professional actors and stage managers.

A majority of those casting ballots among the 1,700 workers in the bargaining unit was needed to approve representation by Actors' Equity. The unionization effort received 79% yes votes among those voting.


Barring an election challenge, the NLRB's regional director will certify the results within a week, according to the union.

"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," Actors' Equity Association President Kate Shindle said Saturday.

"These workers are on the front lines of the guest experience; they're the human beings who create lifelong memories when your kids hug a character, or when your family watches a parade roll by the castle."

Union officials will next meet with cast members about desired improvements in health and safety, wages, benefits, working conditions and job security, then meet with Walt Disney Co. representatives to negotiate the first contract.

"While voting is complete, there are still steps in the process prior to the election being certified, so it is premature for the company to comment on the results," Disneyland spokesperson Jessica Good said Sunday in a statement provided to City News Service. "Whatever the outcome, we respect that our cast members had the opportunity to have their voices heard."