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Disneyland characters and parades cast members launch unionization effort

Cast members at Disneyland in California have sought to organize with the United States’ primary stage actors union.

Some 1,700 characters and parades workers are receiving unionization cards from the group, Actors’ Equity Association, according to an association statement.

‘As the Entertainment Cast Members at the Disneyland Resort, it is time for us to come together as a union, to use our collective power to ensure that the park is a safer, more sustainable place to build careers and share magic with Guests from all over the world,’ the leaders of the park’s unionization effort, which they are calling Magic United, said in a statement released by the association.  

Among the workers whom union drive leaders are seeking to organize are cast members who bring ‘characters to life in shows, meet and greets and character dining experiences.’

Others who have signed union authorization cards include parade performers, hosts, trainers and other roles that support their fellow cast members, the association said.

In a statement to NBC News, a Disneyland official said, “We believe that our Cast Members deserve to have all the facts and the right to a confidential vote that recognizes their individual choices.”

Equity, as the collective is colloquially known, already represents hundreds of performers at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Union drive leaders said it chose Equity because of “how well they work with Disney in Florida, on Broadway and on tour.”

“Our Walt Disney World colleagues exemplify how you can be pro-Disney and pro-union at the same time,” the leaders said.

‘Disney workers are openly and powerfully invested in and loyal to the Walt Disney Company and its values, so it’s reasonable for them to expect ‘the happiest place on earth’ to pay them fairly and prioritize their health and safety,’ Actors’ Equity Association President Kate Shindle said. ‘Unionizing is the collective pathway to ensuring that the magic makers share not only in the happiness, but in the $9.13 billion in quarterly ‘experience’ revenue that Disney announced to its shareholders on February 7.’

Disney is facing a variety of pressures and has lost 44% of its value over the past three years, but Tuesday’s announcement did not seem to affect the company’s market value, as its shares were trading higher on the day.

And while tens of thousands of Disney workers are already represented by a union, the drive still represents a significant event for a company whose founder was famously opposed to unions.

A Disney spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This post appeared first on NBC NEWS

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