by Sarah J.F. Braley | April 01, 2010

Hotel contracts at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif., expired more than two years ago, on Jan. 31, 2008. The following statements from Disney officials describe the company’s stance on the current proposals on the table and how the company would like to modify the health-care options offered to Unite Here Local 11’s members.

What are the major issues between Disney and Unite Here?
The Disneyland Resort is committed to offering all Cast Members [employees] a comprehensive employment package. Over the last two years, we have worked with representatives from Unite Here Local 11 to develop a reasonable contract offer. Our modified final proposal, which was presented in June 2009, provides annual wage increases, additional pay for certain roles, continued eligibility for health care, and ensures that Cast Members retain access to many of the benefits they currently have. It also allows Cast Members to begin accumulating up to seven paid sick days per year (a benefit Local 11 suspended last year).

Disney’s contract offer negotiated for Local 11 Cast Members is comprehensive and includes:

• A choice of seven health-care plans through Disney’s Signature Plan;

• Yearly increases for every Cast Member who does not receive gratuities;

• Continued full-time status for every current full-time Cast Member.

Is there one issue that has been a particular stumbling block?

The main issue is over the continuation of free health care. Local 11 Cast Members currently receive their health-care benefits through the Union Trust, which pays 100 percent of the Cast Member’s health-care premium. Under the old contract terms, the Disneyland Resort contributed a fixed amount per Cast Member to the Trust Fund each month to cover these costs (which it continues to do in the absence of a contract — more than $14 million over the last two years). With health-care costs continuing to escalate, the Trust Fund is demanding a significant increase in Disneyland’s contribution (in excess of 30 percent).

Due to Local 11 leadership’s unreasonable demands, the Disneyland Resort has proposed to move Local 11 Cast Members into its Signature Plan. Thirty out of the 31 unions at Disneyland Resort participate in the Signature Plan with modest cost-sharing. Local 11 is the only exception. Even with cost-sharing, the Walt Disney Co. would pay approximately 75 percent of Cast Members’ health-care costs.

The Disney Signature Plan is solid, comprehensive and stable. The plan is financially strong and more than 66,000 Disney employees nationwide rely on it for coverage and predictability.