People who dress like animals for a living want to unionize

Photo by Bo shou from Pexels

From baristas at Starbucks to Amazon warehouse workers, these days it seems like everyone wants to form a union.

While some unions have been around for decades, others are just now starting to take shape.

But now people who dress like animals for a living want to unionize.

Disneyland characters plan to start a union

People who dress up as characters like Mickey Mouse, Pluto, and Cinderella at Disneyland in California have now chosen to unionize.

The new union comes after a three-day vote that was finalized this past Saturday.

The Actor’s Equity Association (AEA) labor union said that cast members for the “parades and characters department” at the theme park near Los Angeles voted in favor of the union by a wide margin.

An association website that tracked the balloting among the approximately 1,700 cast members showed that it passed by 78.7% to 21.3%.

AEA President Kate Shindle said, “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 dreams came true today.”

She said the workers are on the “front lines” of the Disneyland guest experience.

Cast members and the Association will discuss improvements to wages, benefits, health and safety, working conditions, and job security.

They will later meet with representatives from the Walt Disney Company to talk about negotiating the new staff priorities into a contract.

According to the Association, the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will certify the results within a week, barring any election challenges. 

The voting took place in Anaheim, California, after workers filed cards to form a union called “Magic United” earlier this year.

Many of the parade and character workers who support unionizing said they love helping to create a magical experience for guests at Disneyland.

However, they started to get concerned when they were asked to resume hugging visitors after coming back to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some said they also suffer injuries from wearing complicated costumes and from erratic schedules.

This is not Disney’s first union

Not surprisingly, most of the over 35,000 workers at the Disneyland Resort are already in labor unions, including cleaning crew members, security staff, and pyrotechnic specialists.

The resort encompasses Disneyland, Walt Disney Co.’s oldest theme park, Disney California Adventure, and the shopping and entertainment district of Downtown Disney in Anaheim.

Disney has faced allegations of not paying its workers in Southern California a livable wage in recent years.

Currently, parade performers and character actors earn a base pay of $24.15 an hour, up from $20 before January, and different roles may be paid premiums.

Although union membership in the United States has been on a decades-long decline, many organizations are seeing growing public support, namely after high-profile contract negotiations in Hollywood studios.

Now it looks like Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and the rest of the gang will soon be getting their union benefits.

Patriot Political will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.