Walt Disney World To Furlough 43,000 Workers

After reaching agreements with the The Service Trades Council Union, a coalition of six locals, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida—the largest single-site employer in the country—will furlough 43,000 more of its unionized workers in a little more than a week.

Union leaders acknowledged they did not want furloughs but that Walt Disney Co. was within its rights to impose them and had already paid workers’ wages for weeks after the parks shut down March 16.

The employees will be able to file for unemployment benefits in Florida immediately, and those with insurance will retain their medical, dental and life insurance benefits for up to one year.

“Disney will pay 100% of all insurance costs. There will be no cost to any employee who’s on furlough for use of their medical insurance and the continued coverage of it,” the union said in a release. Disney will also pay for any coronavirus test for employees covered by its insurance.

All employees will be able to return to their jobs after the furlough is over.

“Everyone’s job, seniority, wage rate and benefits are guaranteed through the furlough, even if you stay on furlough after Disney reopens. Seniority continues indefinitely beyond 12 months,” the union said.

It’s still unclear when Disney will reopen gates at its parks around the world. The massive park will now be staffed by only 200 people with “essential duties.”

Disney’s theme parks division brought in more than $26 billion in revenue for the 2019 fiscal year. Disney World and other theme parks across the U.S. have been closed since mid-March.

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