After 19 months of contentious contract negotiations, some 2,100 union hotel workers employed at three Walt Disney-owned hotels in Anaheim, Calif. -- the Disneyland Resort, the Grand Californian and Paradise Piers -- have rejected the latest terms offered by hotel management.
According to Paulina Gonzalez, a spokesperson for Unite Here Local 11, which represents the workers, the crux of the dispute lies with health-care benefits. "The latest proposal says that by 2014, health care will cost employees $520 per month," she said. "We hope [Disney management] will come back with something, because workers won't be able to afford this." A strike has not been ruled out, Gonzalez added.
Suzi Brown, director of media relations and external communications for the Disneyland Resort, said the medical plan offers affordable and stable care coverage for employees and their families, including paid sick leave.
"Local 11 continues to be the only Disney union whose members are without a contract and the secure benefits they deserve," Brown said, referring to the resort's other 30 unions that have accepted the medical plan.
In August 2008, fallout over the contract made headlines when about 1,000 union members and community activists dressed as familiar Disney characters staged a protest outside the Disneyland Hotel, causing traffic disruptions, rubbernecking by bewildered tourists and 32 arrests.
At press time, the stalemate seemed likely to continue: No further talks between the parties had been scheduled.