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Disney World to Furlough 43,000 Workers Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Decision will take effect April 19

Walt Disney World will furlough 43,000 workers starting April 19 due to the coronavirus pandemic, a union council representing the employees said Saturday.

The Service Trade Council Union, which is comprised of several local unions representing Disney employees, made the announcement in a Facebook Live video Saturday morning.

“This is a decision that the union doesn’t like. However, it’s within the company’s right to lay off and furlough employees in this situation,” said Eric Clinton, president of Unite Here! Local 362, a union that represents full-time cast members who work in attractions, custodial and vacation planning at Walt Disney World.

The Walt Disney Company announced on April 2 that nonessential employees would be furloughed as of April 19, but this is the first time a specific number has been set for how many employees will be impacted.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the Service Trades Council Union that will maintain members’ health insurance benefits coverage, educational support and additional employee assistance programs during a temporary furlough effective April 19,” a representative for Walt Disney World Resort said in a statement to TheWrap.

“This agreement provides an easier return to work when our community recovers from the impact of COVID-19. We are grateful to have worked together in good faith to help our Cast Members navigate these unprecedented times.”

Disney, like most of Hollywood, has been hit hard by the continued spread of the novel coronavirus, as movie theaters remain closed and theme parks are still shuttered.