Disney Cast Members File Unfair Labor Practice Charges

Disney Workers Rising


June 11, 2024

Contact: (UFCW) Jenna Thompson, 949.246.1620, jthompson@ufcw324.org 

(SEIU-USWW) Sebastian Silva, 619.754.3350, sebastian.silva@seiu-usww.org 

(SEIU-USWW) Maria Elena Jauregui, Spanish-language, 818.355.5291

Disney Cast Members File Unfair Labor Practice Charges

Over 550 cast members unlawfully disciplined, intimidated and surveilled by Disney for wearing union buttons

Anaheim, CA – Today, Disney cast members announced that they have filed unfair labor practice charges against Disney on behalf of 13,000 workers at the resort for unlawful discipline, intimidation and surveillance of union members exercising their right to wear union buttons at work. Over 550 cast members were intimidated, surveilled and disciplined for wearing union buttons in support of their contract campaign. The charges will now be investigated by National Labor Relations Board agents.

“Cast members have been at the bargaining table for months trying to win a fair contract because we deserve more, but the company has been busy breaking the law, surveilling, intimidating and disciplining cast members for exercising their rights,” said Michi Cordell, a Fairy Godmother’s Apprentice at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Disneyland. “These unfair labor practices are hindering our ability to get the fair contract we deserve and Disney must be held accountable and prevented from further threatening us, the cast members who make the magic for guests on a daily basis.”

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1945 that “the right of employees to wear union insignia at work has long been recognized as a reasonable and legitimate form of union activity, and the [employer’s] curtailment of that right is clearly violative of the Act.” Also, employers cannot legally ban union buttons as violating a dress code or because employees are required to wear a uniform or other designated clothing. Similarly, the fact that employees regularly interact with customers does not justify banning or restricting union buttons in work areas.

Disney’s largest bargaining unit of workers in California – composed of custodians and ride operators to candy makers and merchandise clerks – entered into negotiations with the company on April 24, 2024. Since then, Disney has repeatedly stymied cast members’ efforts to reach a new contract that fairly compensates cast members for their work.

While Disneyland brands itself as “The Happiest Place on Earth” the reality for park employees is one of economic hardship. The cast members that make these profits possible report that 73% of them do not earn enough money to cover basic expenses each month. A survey of cast members this year found that:

  • Nearly three in 10 cast members (28%) report experiencing food insecurity
  • 64% of cast members are “rent burdened” or spending more than half of their monthly paychecks on rent
  • 33% of cast members experienced housing insecurity in the past year
  • 42% of cast members had to miss work for medical treatment because they didn’t have enough sick leave

The contract for 13,000 cast members at Disneyland, represented by the four unions in the Master Services Agreement, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM), the Service Employees International Union-United Service Workers West (SEIU-USWW), the Teamsters Local 495 and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 324, expires June 16, 2024. The contract for Disney California Adventure and Downtown Disney cast members expires September 30, 2024. 

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