Disneyland is still closed, but dozens of employees were outside the park Saturday protesting over health and safety concerns.
The horns were honking for cast member safety, as dozens of Disneyland resort employees protesting COVID-19 health and safety concerns.
“This is my livelihood,” said Joey Hamamoto, a Disney cast member. “This is how I make my living.”
Hamamoto is a valet for the Disney Grand Californian Hotel. He’s on furlough at the moment, and going back to work is concerning. His brother is sick with the virus. And his aunt from New York, Carla Larrson, died of COVID-19 in April.
“Everybody’s been going out everywhere, and we just don’t know who is carrying the virus and who is not,” Hamamoto said.
“COVID is still happening,” Maria Hernandez, of Unite Here Local 11, said. “Just because we’re reopening, doesn’t mean it’s not happening.”
Hernandez is with one of several unions that represent the cast members.
“All we’re saying is we want Disney to reopen as safely as possible,” Hernandez said. “And that includes routine testing of covid for cast members.”
But Disney is not offering testing in a letter from Disney labor relations the company says it is concerned with false negative test results which could, the letter says, give cast members a false sense of security.
Disney says it will continue to follow CDC guidelines to protect against COVID-19.
Earlier this week, Disneyland scrapped plan to reopen on July 17, awaiting reopening recommendations from the state. As of Saturday, no reopening date had been set.
Disney responded to this demonstration Saturday with a statement saying:
“To date, 20 union affiliates have signed agreements that include health and safety measures such as additional sick pay, reduced park capacity and face coverings for guests and cast members, allowing us to responsibly bring back our cast as soon as possible. It’s incredibly unfortunate that some unions leaders are staging a caravan at the same time we are trying to get people back to work.”
The city of Anaheim says its already feeling the effects of the closure, noting that if Disneyland remains closed longer, it could face more of a deficit from tax revenues.
“We have seen tens of thousands of people without work, and many businesses in the area struggle because of the drop off we’ve seen in our visitor economy,” said Mike Lyster with the city of Anaheim.
Getting back to work at the “happiest place on earth” is the goal for everyone, but figuring out how to make everyone feel safe is still undecided.
Source: NBC Los Angeles