In an attempt to restart negotiations, Disneyland Resort officials offered a new contract proposal to the union representing its hotel workers last Wednesday. Negotiations have been at a standstill for more than three years, as employees have been working with no contract.
Unite Here Local 11, which represents approximately 2,100 Disney hotel employees, have staged many protests, including picket lines, walkouts, and most recently, a campaign to urge members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to vote against the film “Toy Story 3” as Best Picture.
Disagreements between the company and the union focus primarily on health insurance issues; Disney wants employees to join its health care plan; the union wants to maintain its own plan. The problem, of course, comes down to cost. If employees join the Disney plans, they will, for the first time, contribute to the cost of their insurance. If they do not join, Disney will continue to pay the union a modest rate to cover the employees under the alternative plan – a rate which the union says is no longer adequate without “severe takeaways.”
For now, both sides are hopeful that an agreement can be reached. Steve Eisenhardt, vice president of Parks’ labor relations, sees the proactive move as a step in the right direction for its employees. “We wanted to do something to get this started. It’s not fair for our cast members for this to continue to linger on.” Leigh Shelton, Unite Here spokesperson, said the union is “delighted” with the development.