Local union representing Disney characters has leadership shakeup: report
A union that represents Walt Disney World workers is getting new leadership.
Two associates were appointed Monday to take over the Teamsters Local 385 union in Orlando, Fla., months after Disney workers threatened to leave over what they called “horrible misrepresentation."
General President James Hoffa said he had begun a process called trusteeship — according to a letter posted at the union hall — and promised to send resources to help the union right itself.
“It is regrettable that circumstances have reached this point,” Hoffa wrote.
Local 385 represents approximately 10,000 members in central and north Florida, according to its website. About half of the members work at Disney while many of the other members also play central roles in the state’s tourism and transportation industries including UPS drivers, hotel employees and food service workers.
Almost two-thirds of the 1,000 costumed character-performers at Disney World signed a petition to the Teamsters earlier this year and threatened to leave. The performers have been members of the international union since the early 1980s.
The group complained that Local 385 leaders made a deal with Disney World officials to cut out 20 or so workers from being covered by the union and argued that local union leaders had been unresponsive to grievances by members seeking help against the companies they worked for.
In March, Hoffa ordered a hearing in Orlando where union members were able to voice their complaints to leaders with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
In his letter on Monday, Hoffa noted that the local union had lost more than 500 members since 2017 and that the hundreds of Disney workers were threatening to leave. Hoffa said he had asked Local 385's leaders to respond to the allegations but they never responded.
Teamsters spokeswoman Kara Deniz said an election will be held within 18 months so members can choose new leaders.
Disney and Local 385 didn't immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment Tuesday morning.
Separately, investigators with another, independent Teamsters office have said in court filings that they are scrutinizing allegations that Local 385's leaders created false records and committed embezzlement and obstruction. No charges have reportedly been filed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.