Disneyland costumed staffers from Goofy to Elsa seek union vote

Thomas Buckley, Bloomberg News on

Published in Business News

Walt Disney Co. employees who dress up as Goofy and other beloved characters to entertain guests at the company’s California theme parks have taken a key step toward unionizing.

A majority of the staff members who meet with fans or participate in parades at the Disneyland Resort have signed a petition indicating they want to join the Actors’ Equity Association, the union said in a statement Wednesday.

The 1,700 workers are seeking to join the same group that represents costumed employees at Walt Disney World in Florida. Disney hasn’t responded to a request to voluntarily recognize the union, the organizers said, adding Actors’ Equity will move forward with an election in May or June under the supervision of federal labor authorities.

The action follows other organizing efforts at the Burbank, California-based entertainment giant. In recent months, visual effects artists at Marvel Studios have voted to unionize, as have Disney Animation production workers.

The Disneyland costumed employees, who call themselves “Magic United,” announced their intention to unionize in February.


Adam Hefner, a 28-year-old costumed employee, said safety is big part of why the workers, who make about $25 an hour, are looking to unionize. Costumes can get run down and cause rashes, he said. “They’re never replaced,” he said in an interview.

Other Disneyland workers said on April 16 that they expect to begin talks on a new contract next week. The contract for those 13,000 employees, including custodians, ride operators and merchandise clerks, expires in June, according to a statement.

Last year, janitors, ride operators and food-service staffers at the Florida parks reached a multiyear agreement guaranteeing them minimum pay of $18 an hour.

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