Disneyland and unions representing over 11,000 theme park cast members have reached an agreement.
According to The Orange County Register, Disneyland signed an agreement with 20 cast member union affiliates outlining plans to bring employees back to work amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“The signed agreement details plans that include enhanced safety protocols that will allow us to responsibly reopen and get thousands of our cast members back to work,” according to a statement from Disneyland, per the publication.
The move comes after Disneyland, which has been closed since mid-March, delayed the planned July 17 reopening indefinitely. The reopening relied on government approvals. Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel planned July 23 reopening has also been postponed.
Disneyland faced pushback from the unions, who cited health concerns for workers and guests, and took to the Anaheim resort to protest the "premature" reopening. With cases on the rise, a Change.org petition to stop the rapid reopening also gained more than 15,000 signatures as of early June.
Following the negotiations, Teamsters Local 495 coordinator Jim Lennox said “the company hears us loud and clear.”
Some highlights from the agreement between Disneyland and the coalition of unions -- Teamsters Local 495, United Service Workers West and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 324 -- include two weeks of sick pay for employees who test positive for COVID-19, mandatory at-home assessments prior to arriving for work (cast members will be given a thermometer), and mandatory plastic face shields for employees who work within 6 feet of visitors.
Disney also acknowledged employee concerns about coming back to work, stating that they may decline the first recall notice and remain on furlough and receive benefits.
However, employees who decline a second call will have to either go on an approved leave of absence or be terminated.
The agreement notes that full-time and part-time employees must be called back before the college employment program is reinstated.
In response to a letter demanding on-site testing, Disney labor relations director Bill Pace said that testing could provide a false sense of security as “the existing COVID-19 testing is not viable as a screening tool and not recommended by the FDA to be used in this way.”
“We have been crystal clear that we will enforce our policy requiring the wearing of face coverings by cast and guests,” Pace added, per the publication. “Our resort leaders and security personnel will support cast members on this front.”
New protocols under the parks “multi-pronged” approach include reduced capacity at parks, temperature checks upon entering the park, mandatory masks, additional hand sanitizing stations, and contactless payments at shops and restaurants.