Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy from Disneyland want to join the union

Mario Anzoni/Reuters/File

Disney characters pose on stage at the 2022 Disney Legends Awards during the Disney D23 Expo in Anaheim, California.


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Disneyland employees who perform the roles of various Disney characters in the park seek to join the Actors' Equity Association, which represents everything from Broadway actors to actors. Strippers In Los Angeles.

The union seeks to represent Disneyland's 1,700 employees in the park's character and parade departments. After three days of collecting signed cards from employees, she said she had already received more than 30% of the support needed to apply for a vote on representation with the National Labor Relations Board, which oversees such elections. But it said it would wait until it had at least 60 percent support before applying for such a vote or seeking voluntary recognition of the union by Disney.

The performers who do the same work at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, have actually been in a union for years. Until recently, Disney World performers were paid more than their Disneyland counterparts, according to the union.

the Union contract receipt A coalition of unions and management at Disney World last year paid performers an hourly minimum The pay ranges from $21.30 to $23.00, according to the union. Disneyland performers were paid $20 an hour until a union organizing drive began late last year. The minimum wage rose to $24.15 an hour at the end of last year, according to the union.

But the cost of living in Orange County, California, where Disneyland is located, is much higher than in Orlando. According to data from the Council for Community and Economic Research, the cost of living is 50% higher in Orange County, California. Housing costs are more than doubled The main reason is, but prices are higher across multiple categories.

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There are more than 21,000 employees at Disneyland, whom the company refers to as cast members, and who are represented by more than a dozen unions. These union jobs include everything from retail and food service workers to security guards, hair and makeup artists and fireworks workers. But not the performers who dress up as characters like Mickey, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy and interact with visitors.

“They love working at Disneyland. That doesn't mean they don't need enough money to live,” Kate Shindel, president of Actors Equity, told CNN. The union, which has 51,000 members, is 111 years old, making it one of the oldest American unions outside the railroads.

“Everyone realizes that Disneyland is a special place,” she added. “But magic alone doesn't pay the rent.”

The union already represents some Disney World artists.

The company had only limited comment on the regulatory efforts.

“We believe our cast members deserve all the facts and the right to a secret vote that recognizes their individual choices,” Disney said in a statement.

Disney has struggled recently, with continued losses at the streaming service, layoffs and more Cost reduction effortsQuestions about The future of its various media propertiesand activist investor Nelson Peltz He is trying to win two seats on the Disney board.

But its local parks and experiences unit is the most profitable part of the company, generating revenue of $6.3 billion in the final three months of 2023, up 4% from the previous year, and operating income of $2.1 billion, down 2% from the previous year. previously. This profit represents more than half of the total operating income of $3.9 billion for the quarter.

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Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the current support percentage for the union representation vote. It is now above 30%.

CNN's Samantha Deloia contributed to this report

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