Disney to layoff 28000 Cast Members at its domestic theme parks

Sep 29, 2020 in "The Walt Disney Company"

Posted: Tuesday September 29, 2020 4:50pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Disney has this evening announced that it plans to drasticaly reduce its workforce at its domestic parks by 28,000 employees, with 67% being part-time Cast Members.

Disney parks Chairman Josh D'Amaro cites the state of California's reluctance to allow for the reopening of Disneyland as one of the driving factors. In a note to Cast Members, D'Amaro said that, "We will be scheduling appointments with our affected salaried and non-union hourly employees over the next few days." It appears the action will be taken in short time.

Walt Disney World currently employs approximately 70,000, with Disneyland Resort employing around 30,000. It isn't yet clear how the layoffs will be distributed across the two coasts.

Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World closed in mid-March as the COVID-19 impacts began, with Walt Disney World reopening in mid-July and Disneyland Resort still remaining closed.

STATEMENT FROM JOSH D’AMARO, CHAIRMAN, DISNEY PARKS, EXPERIENCES AND PRODUCTS (DPEP) In light of the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on our business, including limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and the continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic – exacerbated in California by the State’s unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen – we have made the very difficult decision to begin the process of reducing our workforce at our Parks, Experiences and Products segment at all levels, having kept non-working Cast Members on furlough since April, while paying healthcare benefits. Approximately 28,000 domestic employees will be affected, of which about 67% are part-time. We are talking with impacted employees as well as to the unions on next steps for union-represented Cast Members. Over the past several months, we’ve been forced to make a number of necessary adjustments to our business, and as difficult as this decision is today, we believe that the steps we are taking will enable us to emerge a more effective and efficient operation when we return to normal. Our Cast Members have always been key to our success, playing a valued and important role in delivering a world-class experience, and we look forward to providing opportunities where we can for them to return.

And in a memo to Cast Members.

Team,

I write this note to you today to share some difficult decisions that we have had to make regarding our Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products organization.

Let me start with my belief that the heart and soul of our business is and always will be people. Just like all of you, I love what I do. I also love being surrounded by people who think about their roles as more than jobs, but as opportunities to be a part of something special, something different, and something truly magical.

Earlier this year, in response to the pandemic, we were forced to close our businesses around the world. Few of us could have imagined how significantly the pandemic would impact us — both at work and in our daily lives. We initially hoped that this situation would be short-lived, and that we would recover quickly and return to normal. Seven months later, we find that has not been the case. And, as a result, today we are now forced to reduce the size of our team across executive, salaried, and hourly roles.

As you can imagine, a decision of this magnitude is not easy. For the last several months, our management team has worked tirelessly to avoid having to separate anyone from the company. We’ve cut expenses, suspended capital projects, furloughed our cast members while still paying benefits, and modified our operations to run as efficiently as possible, however, we simply cannot responsibly stay fully staffed while operating at such limited capacity.

As heartbreaking as it is to take this action, this is the only feasible option we have in light of the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on our business, including limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and the continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic.

Thank you for your dedication, patience and understanding during these difficult times. I know that these changes will be challenging. It will take time for all of us to process this information and its impact. We will be scheduling appointments with our affected salaried and non-union hourly employees over the next few days. Additionally, today we will begin the process of discussing next steps with unions. We encourage you to visit The Hub or the WDI Homepage for any support you may need.

For those who will be affected by this decision, I want to thank you for all that you have done for our company and our guests. While we don’t know when the pandemic will be behind us, we are confident in our resilience, and hope to welcome back Cast Members and employees when we can.

Most sincerely, Josh D’Amaro
Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products

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CaptainAmericaMar 07, 2021

CaptainAmericaMar 07, 2021

tommcp516Mar 07, 2021

That's great news--first and foremost for the CM's and also for people with upcoming trips. I'm curious if the specific details of who is being called back might give an indication of where the next change in Covid-related closures might occur: are there any callbacks to laid-off CM's from a currently closed resort, restaurant, or attraction/entertainment (which means an opening might be on the near horizon)? Or are they calling back laid-off CM's to currently open resorts, restaurants, or attractions (which means that an increase in capacity might be coming soon)?

HauntedMansionFLAMar 07, 2021

Yes. Lots and lots of call backs.

nickysMar 07, 2021

Great news, nonetheless.

Disney AnalystMar 07, 2021

Unsure of date. Same role, but may not be same location. Still waiting to find out.

SkywiseMar 07, 2021

At this point, having had the vaccine, he'd probably test positive for that now?

asianwayMar 07, 2021

Ah I was curious I had thought the test only works for three months after but who knows at this point, there so many conflicting stories

SirwalterraleighMar 07, 2021

No...I have not. I thought about getting one last summer/fall...but I wasn’t in bad health and we were medically unprepared to handle everyone till recently. I was a 1A for vax in my state...but I waited until 1B for it.

tommcp516Mar 07, 2021

Out of curiosity, was your friend given a tentative re-hire date? Was it to their same position?

asianwayMar 07, 2021

You had an antibody test?

SirwalterraleighMar 05, 2021

I know it’s serious...that’s why I pointed out the context and where it’s at.

SirwalterraleighMar 05, 2021

I am still debating whether to pay the park hopper add on... It really depends on the weather, the crowds and the hours. Right now hours after 2 and not knowing if they’ll “ease” their capacity limits in a busy week means “no”.

Chip ChippersonMar 05, 2021

Yeah it definitely wouldn't be worth it to keep the passes knowing you wouldn't get to use them. Had we not already gotten 2 trips out of our passes and knew we wouldn't get back again before the extension ran out then we would have gone for the refund when it was offered. But we got our money's worth out of them and we'll get our money's worth out of them again this time, so I'm glad we held on to them. I'm not sure we would have been able to "renew" them if we had taken the refund and the thought of buying tickets when we aren't even sure how much time we'll be spending in the parks was a bigger headache for us - and our stay won't be long enough to take advantage of the DVC ticket offer so it was an easier call for us to just renew and know that we'll be able to go to the parks and not feel the need to worry about adding on the Park Hopper option just in case we decide we want to hit the food booths or mobile order from Regal Eagle at EPCOT in the afternoon for a meal.