Disney Lays Off 28,000, Principally at Its 2 U.S. Theme Parks
So far, Disney’s zealous theme park security procedures appear to be working. Epidemiologists and university public health officials have said that, as far as they can tell, there have been no outbreaks among Disney workers or guests. Disney has refused to comment, except that new infections in Florida have fallen sharply since Disney World reopened.
Revenue for the worldwide Disney theme park division, which includes a still-closed cruise line and the Disney Store chain, was $ 1 billion in the most recent quarter, down 85 percent from the same period last year. Operating profit decreased $ 3.7 billion, resulting in a quarterly loss of $ 2 billion. Mr D’Amaro said Tuesday that the restructuring would create “more effective and efficient operations if we return to normal”.
The rest of Disney has come back. Live sports returned to ESPN in August. Film and television production has resumed, although Disney continues to postpone the release of films. Disney + has grown fast enough to keep Disney’s stock price relatively high at $ 125, a 3 percent decrease from last year.
The once booming leisure and hospitality industry in central Florida has been decimated by the pandemic. Unemployment in Orange County – home to Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld, and dozen of tourist attractions – was 11.6 percent in August, down from 3.1 percent in August 2019, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. Osceola County, which borders Disney World to the south, had unemployment of 15.1 percent in August, compared to 3.5 percent.
Nationwide, the August unemployment rate in Florida was 7.4 percent.
Universal Orlando laid off a steady stream of employees over the summer and recently told state officials that approximately 5,400 workers had been put on extended vacation. SeaWorld laid off 1,900 employees at its Orlando properties this month. A few days before he was fired, SeaWorld surprised workers by changing its severance policy, moving from a fixed term-based formula to a discretionary system.
Universal and SeaWorld employees are not unionized.
“The layoffs and vacations have been devastating,” said Mike McElmury, trustee of Teamsters Local 385, which represents approximately 5,000 Disney World bus drivers, laundry workers and entertainers, including those who greet visitors in costume as Disney characters. There were at least 2,000 vacation days until Monday. “We’re at the point where people have a hard time figuring out where to get their next meal,” said McElmury.
Over the summer, the Orlando unions established a weekly grocery bank for theme park workers on leave. Eric Clinton, president of Unite Here Local 362, which represents around 8,000 Disney World drivers, administrators, park workers and vacation planners, said the grocery bank was originally filled for about 200 families. About 800 were provided with free groceries on Saturday, with the line stretching two miles, Mr Clinton said.