The Walt Disney Company has reached an agreement to avoid layoffs of its full-time union cast members, according to a letter Wednesday by the Service Trades Council Union, which represents approximately 43,000 of the company's employees.
The agreement comes a week after Disney's Josh D'Amaro announced the company would be laying off approximately 28,000 employees across its Parks, Experiences and Products segment due to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
"On September 29, 2020, Disney notified the STCU that they had made a decision to change the employment status from furlough to layoff for 5,299 Full-Time and 8,857 Part-Time Cast Members." the union said. "After several days of negotiations, the STCU is proud to announce that no Full-Time Cast Members will be forced to layoff status. Additionally, the STCU and the Company have agreed that there will be no permanent layoffs."
However, the union noted that 8,800 part-time employees will be laid off, citing park attendance and resort occupancy remaining below pre-pandemic levels.
"As incredibly difficult as it is to take this action, this agreement helps us preserve many full-time jobs," a Disney spokesperson told FOX Business. "For those affected by this decision, we thank you for all your dedication. While we don’t know when the pandemic will be behind us, we are confident in our resilience, and we hope to welcome back Cast Members where we can."
According to the letter, any full-time cast member laid off in the future will retain their employment, seniority, rate of pay including any scheduled increases, and the right to return back to their previous job with the company until Oct. 1, 2022.
Full-time employees will also be given the opportunity, in seniority order, to either return to their previous job if the business need exists or to select a new full-time position through a negotiated displacement transfer process.
Employees selecting a new position who do not have the seniority to immediately return to work will remain on furlough and continue to receive health insurance. Meanwhile, those who opt not to participate in the displacement transfer process will be converted to layoff status, and be placed on a 60-day pay period.
Additionally, part-time employees will also have a contractual right to be recalled to their old jobs until Oct. 1, 2022.
"It is unfortunate anytime a worker is laid off and the mass layoffs that Disney is facing are extremely difficult for 1000’s of Cast Members," Service Trades Council Union President Matt Hollis said in the statement. "We will continue to do everything we can to ensure their speedy return to work."
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According to the STCU, there are 21,627 full-time cast members and 3,877 part-time cast members that have currently been recalled to their jobs during Disney’s phased reopening. Meanwhile, 7,731 full-time and 9,106 part-time Cast members are currently on furlough status.