Walt Disney World and Actors' Equity Association union reach agreement over COVID-19 testing

It has been over a month since the theme park resort's workers said they were locked out of its reopening for publicly demanding tests

Walt Disney World and Actors' Equity Association, the union behind its actors and singers, reached an agreement on Wednesday that will allow them to return to work.

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It has been over a month since the theme park resort's workers said they were locked out of its reopening for publicly demanding COVID-19 tests.

“We have been consistent that testing is an important part of ensuring a safe workplace for Equity performers, and today, I’m pleased to see that Disney World has agreed,” Kate Shindle, president of Actors’ Equity Association, said in a statement.

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Walt Disney World Resort.  (iStock)

Per a notice sent to Disney workers, testing for the novel virus is "voluntary" and cast members who choose to be tested "will not be paid for testing time."

The notice also states that there will be a dedicated testing lane for Disney employees and their families. In addition, reservations can be made for testing starting on Thursday.

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In a statement obtained by Fox Business on Wednesday, a Disney spokesperson said, “We have offered the location to help with community testing and any suggestion that this has been done as a result of any one union is unfounded. The Florida Division of Emergency Management will operate the location which is available to Cast Members and their immediate families as well as Florida residents. Our actions support all cast and our community at large.”

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Actors’ Equity Association filed a labor grievance against Disney World, saying its members faced retaliation for demanding the coronavirus tests before Disney World's theme parks reopened to visitors last month after being closed since March because of the pandemic. About 220 actors and singers initially were called back to work, but that invitation was rescinded after the union made public its concerns about the lack of testing, according to the union.

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It was unclear how many actors and singers would be called back now that an agreement has been signed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report