By Sarah Tully
About 75 Disney hotel workers walked out on their jobs Sunday morning because of a dispute about their workloads, forcing Disney managers to assign other employees to fill in.
This is the first time that hotel employees have staged a walkout during a nearly two-year conflict over contracts. Union members have organized regular protests, resulting in some arrests, but employees have largely participated during their free time.
Sunday morning’s impromptu walkout lasted from about 8 a.m. to noon, when most employees returned to work, said Leigh Shelton, a spokeswoman for Unite Here 11, the hotel employees’ union.
During that walkout, Disney shifted salaried employees to fill in while hotel workers, mostly housekeepers, were protesting, said Suzi Brown, a Disneyland Resort spokeswoman. Hotel workers were not disciplined. Service to visitors was unaffected by the walkout, she said.
“We are well prepared in the event of a work stoppage, and we will continue to provide our hotel guests with the outstanding service they expect,” Brown said in a prepared statement.
Hotel employees say managers are ignoring their concerns about new work that is possibly causing injuries, Shelton said. During recent renovations, Disney added different beds and sheets and extra pillows that allegedly have created more work and made their carts heavier. Some are concerned that the workload caused a colleague’s recent heart attack.