Senator Warren asks Disney to explain dividend payments and high executive pay while laying off 28000 of its front line workers

15 days ago in "The Walt Disney Company"

United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has sent a letter to The Walt Disney Company to obtain information on the company's announced layoffs of 28,000 workers and what Warren views as a prioritization of stock buybacks, dividend payments, and high executive pay.

In the letter to Disney, she says, "In the years leading up to this crisis, your company prioritized the enrichment of executives and stockholders through hefty compensation packages, and billions of dollars' worth of dividend payments and stock buybacks, all of which weakened Disney's financial cushion and ability to retain and pay its front-line workers amid the pandemic." "I would like to know whether Disney's financial practices have impacted the company's decision to lay off workers and whether your company plans to extend health care or other critical benefits and protections to laid off employees." She goes on to say, "It appears that – prior to, and during the pandemic – Disney took good care of its top executives and shareholders – and now is hanging its front-line workers out to dry."

You can view the full text of the letter from Senator Warren here.

As part of the 28000 workers at the domestic theme parks who are being separated from the company, more than 20000 of them are at Walt Disney World. Among the layoffs are Cast Members with decades of service to the company. This week is seeing the dismantling of the vast majority of the Walt Disney World entertainment department.

Senator Warren has given the company until October 27 2020 for answers to her 7 questions.

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Article Posted: Oct 14, 2020 / 4:09pm ET
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flynnibus2 minutes ago

so simply put... you think it’s ok to covet thy neighbors goods.

asianway9 minutes ago

Hoping this is the end of the Steve Davidson castle themed shows. Maybe we’ll get the hub trees back. I bet someone’s glad they dodged a bullet by not building the main St theatre.

MisterPenguin2 hours ago

Wouldn't the entertainment venues be needed to 'eat people' once we're back to 60k people a day in the parks? Even the fireworks 'eat people' by occupying up to an hour of their time by gathering them in the hub rather them all be in lines for rides.

MisterPenguin2 hours ago

Maybe then one of the biggest issues that haunt humanity can finally be resolved: the elimination of the penny.

monothingie2 hours ago

They have competition that seems to think the opposite. Additionally, Guests have already shown a propensity to hold back if there is no value in it. (Remember SWGE?)

lentesta2 hours ago

I think I'm going to stop here. Good talk.

lentesta2 hours ago

My big concern starts after a vaccine arrives and people return to the parks in something close to pre-pandemic numbers. Disney could look at that and say things like EMH, fireworks, character greetings, live entertainment, etc., aren't necessary. In a world with a vaccine, I think there'll be enough pent-up demand for travel that they'll have to start back some of those things, if they want to be price competitive with other industries (like cruises, or general U.S. vacations). So that'll help.

SourcererMark793 hours ago

Layoffs are happening everywhere in nearly every industry both public and private - and it's not because of poor planning. A city cuts their youth programs and lays off the staff - is it because the mayor and commissioners won't cut their salary, or because it's dang near impossible to get 40 kids in a room together with physical distancing and sanitizer and expect it to not be a super spreader? I'm not advocating or giving Dis a pass, but I see the same thing happening all over the nation from small business to international corporations. Small town budget cuts don't make national headlines with opining senators.

Lilofan3 hours ago

Liz Warren could be. If there is a new WH cleaning after 11/3 she is one of the frontrunners to be appointed Treasury Secretary.

Lilofan5 hours ago

The timing of the layoffs is terrible but it will be interesting how Chapek describes this and the turnaround plan of the company road out of this in the upcoming Q4 Disney/Wall street public earnings call in a few weeks.

flynnibus10 hours ago

No level of entertainment or offer is going to overcome the limitations or concerns keeping people from traveling today. Disney isn't down right now due to lack of interest - attendance is down due to the macro situation going on in our country. Yes eventually you will have a chicken and the egg problem and need to drive demand... but doing so today would be like running yourself into a brick wall. Lots of energy, lots of pain, complete waste of time. Disney is foreshadowing that they don't think that changeover point is anytime soon.

flynnibus10 hours ago

Why? The corporation is simply the collective work of many people instead of just one person. By asking a corporation to do something, you are in effect asking it's stakeholders to do something.

wannabeBelle10 hours ago

You are assuming this is all done out of the goodness of executives hearts. I am not even being that altruistic here. Some layoffs are unavoidable, i do believe that but to cut so much cast at a time when the company should be looking to entice people back to the resorts and parks seems kind of backwards. People aren't going to pay full price for a bare bones experience. The investment in the Parks would hopefully recreate the demand that made the salaries and bonuses of these executives possible in the first place. Marie

UNCgolf10 hours ago

There's a huge difference between asking a corporation to do so and asking an individual person to do so. I'm not even saying I agree with that take, but that's not a good comparison.