Hospitality workers marched through Anaheim’s central tourist district on Monday evening with one message for area tourism employers: “Don’t follow Disney.”
Donning “Black-Eye Mickey” masks, protesters said Disney’s greedy insistence on slashing its workers healthcare has put a black eye on the whole city of Anaheim.
Since Disney’s attack on hotel workers began two years ago, the bellman, housekeepers and cooks have taken to the streets with picket lines, marches and even a week-long hunger strike, intent on getting the multi-billion dollar Disney to understand this serious problem.
Now, as contracts covering 3,000 other Anaheim tourism workers expire, employees are urging companies like Aramark, which staffs Angel Stadium and the Convention Center, to agree to fair contracts with affordable benefits and avoid a messy labor dispute like the one that has plagued Disney for more than two years.
The noisy demonstrations and relentless leafleting of Disneyland guests have become emblematic of the two-year battle for affordable healthcare at Disneyland. The on-going struggle has gained national and even international press attention, marring the image of the so-called “happiest place on Earth.”
“For two years, all we’ve been trying to do is hold on to the affordable, decent healthcare we already have,” said Jorge Iniestra, a bellman at the Disneyland Hotel. “We truly do not understand why a company that profited $3.3 billion in 2009 is so insistent on taking that away from us. It’s corporate greed at its worst.”
Employed by Aramark, workers at Angel Stadium and the Anaheim Convention Center have been working without a contract for several months and have just started negotiations.
“As a resident of Anaheim and member of Local 11, I have witnessed the tremendous struggle Disney workers have gone through just to hold on to their family healthcare,” said Jessica Rodriguez, an Aramark employee at Angel Stadium. “Although I hope we can settle a fair agreement quickly, we’ve been inspired by the Disney workers’ courage and aren’t afraid to fight for what we deserve as well.”
For more information, go to www.unitehere11.org