Yesterday, the Los Angles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council sent a letter to Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu to “set the record straight” regarding claims by certain Resort unions about how Disney has engaged with its bargaining units over plans – now postponed – to re-open the Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks on July 17.

The Building Trades Council includes a dozen unions that represent Disneyland Resort employees, primarily back-stage cast members. The union dismissed claims by a few vocal, militant Resort unions as “simply not accurate,” and calling it “political opportunism” that “wrongfully exploit[s] this crisis.” The council lauded Disney as “an industry leader in providing a safe work environment for their employees” and called on the state to issue guidelines to support the “timely” re-opening of the theme parks. Failure to do so, the Building Trades Council says, keeps “thousands of employees” from the “opportunity to return to work, and deprive[s] other local businesses in Southern California from the shared success that Disneyland Resort brings to the community.”

“In our experience,” the letter continues, “Disney has taken a thoughtful, comprehensive approach with a focus on Cast Member safety in direct dialogue with our trade unions. This approach goes back to March when some of our members were called to work through the closure to make sure that the park was minimally maintained.”

Disney has already re-opened its Asian theme parks – their first to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic – utilizing enhanced health and safety, cleaning and disinfecting protocols. Among the measures stated in its initial re-opening announcement, Disney said both cast members and park visitors will be required to wear face coverings and have their temperatures checked.

In addition to those, the Building Trades Council letter notes Disney has agreed to “numerous enhancements to train, equip and invest in both employee and guest safety” including providing cast members with personal protective equipment such as face coverings, face shields and plexiglass barriers, thermometers and sanitizers.

The union letter also stated Disney has agreed:

To expand paid sick leave protection to include paid leave for cast members who need to self-quarantine due work-related exposure to COVID-19.

Cast members may decline the first request to return to work and still receive benefits.

You can read the letter here.

UNITE-HERE Local 11 Hypocrisy 

Today, the most radical of the Resort unions, UNITE-HERE Local 11, is organizing a “Caravan for Safety” protest. Red-shirted Local 11 activists plan to drive around the Disneyland Resort tp demonstrate their commitment to protecting their members and the public from COVID-19.

Not to put to fine a point on it, but…what a joke.

Local 11 union boss Ada Briceno has been a vocal cheerleader for the wave of anti-police protests in which hundreds and thousands of people massively violate social distancing safety protocols for hours at a time, and in many cases do not wear masks or remove them. UNITE-HERE Local 11 itself has been actively participating in these protests, which totally disregard social distancing protocols to limit the spread of the COVID-19 infections.

Local 11 senior organizer Austin Lynch opines on social media about “safety first” but disregards social distancing when it interferes with politicking, such participating in the June 1 La Palma Park protest organized by Jose F. Moreno, Al Jabbar and others – where hundreds of students packed together. Or – ironically – while demanding a mandatory face mask rule for the sake of public health:

UNITE-HERE Local 11 leadership undermines its credibility because they allow their political agenda and ideology to determine which anti-COVID-19 health protocols they’ll abide by, and when. When it comes to protesting against the police, they’re all for having thousands od strangers rubbing elbows with each other for hours at a time at protests where concern such protocols is lax.

But when it comes to allowing their members to return to work in an environment where concern for health and safety is heightened the protocols for protecting it enhanced and road-tested – well, Local 11 would rather keep their unemployed members unemployed (while also trying to extract monthly dues from them).

Maybe that’s why Local 11 is calling for the extension of the $600 weekly COVID unemployment insurance bonus through the end of the year: shifting the burden to taxpayers takes the pressure of them to help their unemployed unions members support themselves, so Local 11 can focus on politics instead of representation:

Some unions care about helping their members earn a living and move up the ladder of economic opportunity. Other unions care more about extracting dues money from members to fund advancing radical politics and policies that ultimately hurt their members.