By Megan Brescin
The UniteHere Local 11 union is set to stage a fast, starting at 5 p.m., in front of Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa in Anaheim to bring attention to the workers unresolved contractual issues with the resort industry giant. A candlelight vigil will be held for the 10 fasting employees, and Anaheim Councilwoman Lorri Galloway, Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America, and Basema Sharaf, the wife of a Disney cook who died at work, are scheduled to speak.
The disagreement centers mostly on the workers health care plan. Leigh Shelton, spokesperson for Local 11, says the workers turned down pay raises in past negotiations, opting instead to stick with the union's health care, which provides free care for the workers and their families.
Disney wants the workers to pay into the corporate plan. While 30 out of Disney's 31 unions have signed on, Shelton insists this it isn't a viable option for a group of workers who can't afford to pay a fee that could increase yearly. "By the end of the contract this could cost people $500 a month. The majority of the workers make under $13 an hour. They cannot afford that."