by Patrick J. McDonnell
Hotel and restaurant workers engaged in a two-year labor dispute with Disney centering on heathcare benefits plan to launch a public hunger strike Tuesday afternoon outside Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.
Seven Disney staffers, two solidarity workers from the same union and the son of a Disney worker injured on the job will participate in the fast, according to Unite Here Local 11, which represents the workers. The hunger-strikers say they plan to take only water as they camp on the street outside the hotel.
Among those expected to attend a march and rally to mark the beginning of the hunger strike, the union says, are religious leaders, Disney employees, an Anaheim city councilwoman and Dolores Huerta, legendary co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America.
Union demonstrators will begin the rally outside Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel and march to the nearby Grand Californian, said Leigh Shelton, a Local 11 spokeswoman.
The nasty dispute pits image-conscious Disney against Local 11, an activist union known for its high-profile pressure tactics and street theater protests, often on behalf of low-wage immigrant workers.