Disneyland workers demand routine COVID-19 testing as talks continue over reopening


(KTLA) A coalition of unions representing Disney employees in Anaheim held a caravan Saturday demanding routine coronavirus testing for workers as talks continue over the reopening of Disneyland and California Adventure.

Disney previously announced a July 17 reopening for its Anaheim parks but later postponed welcoming guests indefinitely. The shopping area just outside the parks, known as the Downtown Disney District, is still scheduled to reopen on July 9.

Ahead of the two-hour caravan organized by the Coalition of Resort Labor Unions near Katella Avenue and Disneyland Drive, union members affixed signs to their vehicles pushing for safety measures.

“Currently, the only thing that Disneyland has agreed to provide in terms of safety for its members has been masks,” Maria Hernandez, a union organizer with Unite Here Local 11, told KTLA. “We don’t think that’s enough.”

In a June 24 letter addressed to union members, Disney said “testing Cast Members can give a false sense of security” given the “current range of false negatives, as high as 38%.”

“The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 according to the CDC and WHO is to focus on physical distancing, wearing effective face coverings and hand washing and sanitization,” the letter said. “This continues to be where we are focusing as well.”

Hernandez said Disney’s refusal to offer routine testing is “not a good idea, because at the end of the day, you can have the virus and not have symptoms.”

The coalition also pushed for more staffing to perform required deep cleaning, the electrostatic spraying of rooms, and guaranteed enforcement of CDC guidelines.

In response to the demonstration on Saturday, a statement from a Disney representative said: “It’s incredibly unfortunate that some unions leaders are staging a caravan at the same time we are trying to get people back to work.”

Just this week, Disney described discussions with union affiliates as “positive.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday commended the company’s decision to postpone reopening its gates as the state delayed issuing guidelines for theme parks amid a recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

As of Friday, Orange County has reported nearly 12,000 cases and 323 deaths related to COVID-19.

Mike Lyster, a spokesman for the city of Anaheim, expressed confidence in Disney’s ability to safely reopen.

He said: “We have worked with Disney for more than six decades on managing the flow and experience of people here in Anaheim… . Now, we will look to Disney to borrow from those best practices, and make sure that they reopen the theme parks in a way that is responsible, safe, and it still guarantees a great experience not just for visitors, but also for the great employees who will make that experience happen.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending stories