Things continue to be difficult for employees at Disney Parks as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. On Wednesday it was revealed that of the more than 28,000 employees the Walt Disney Company layoffs announced last month, nearly 8800 are part-time union employees, while Disneyland remains closed with California Governor Gavin Newsom making it clear that won't change anytime soon. Amidst this, however, Disney executives' salaries have been restored to pre-pandemic levels -- and Disneyland employees are not happy.
Speaking with Variety, one Disneyland worker who chose to remain anonymous, said it was "distressing" that executives would get their full, pre-pandemic salaries restore while the company laid off thousands of workers. Disney had reduced the salaries of vice president-level executives and above by various percentages back in April.
"There's an extreme wealth gap and with COVID, society has become even more aware of that," the theme park staffer said. "When a third of the employees are losing their jobs and then these people who already were making more than these part-time hourly cast members get their money back, it's very out of touch. For every good message that comes out of Disney, there's something like that that comes out."
Back in April, Disney slashed the salaries of vice president-level executives and those above them by 20%. Then, senior vice president pay got cut by about 25% and executive VPs got a 30% cut.
"In light of this, we are going to be implementing a variety of necessary measures designed to better position us to weather these extraordinary challenges," a statement read at the time. "Among them, we will be asking our senior executives to help shoulder the burden by taking a reduction in pay – effective April 5, all VPs will have their salaries reduced by 20%, SVPs by 25%, and EVPs and above by 30%. I will be taking a 50% reduction in my salary. This temporary action will remain in effect until we foresee a substantive recovery in our business. Our executive chairman, Bob Iger, has chosen to forgo 100% of his salary."
Those cuts were reversed in August. And while the frustrations are being voiced by a Disneyland employee, Walt Disney World employees in Florida have their own concerns. The breakdown on Wednesday that 8800 of the 28,000 overall layoffs are part-time union employees comes on the heels of Disney notifying the state of Florida that it would also be laying off 6700 non-union Disney World employees as of December 4th. The total between the layoffs account for 20 percent of the Walt Disney Resort workforce.
"It's devastating," Eric Clinton, president of Unite Here Local 362 said (via Orlando Sentinel). "There’s no other way to feel about all of this."