Our Bodies are Weak, But Our Spirits Are Stronger Than Ever (by Narciso Guevara)

I have always thought that a good leader always envisions what he or she is working for. But he never thinks about what he can lose. Today we are in our sixth day of this fast that we are doing in the name of justice. And this experience has been extremely difficult. Our bodies are weak, but our spirits are stronger than ever, and we are building even more resolve to keep fighting for as long as we have to.

I have gone through moments of extreme hunger, and extreme physical weakness. But when I see, and feel the support from our coworkers, the community, religious leaders, and our elected officials, this weakness disappears, and I start to feel strong again.

I think the one thing that got to me the most is all the visits that I got from the room attendants and fellow housemen from Disney's Grand Californian Hotel. There were times when I'd be surrounded by them. They would stop by before work, after work, and they would even not eat during their half hour lunch in order to come visit me. I have to say that those acts of love and support kept me going through this difficult, yet inspiring journey. This has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life, and most of all, I will walk away from this with even more determination to keep fighting for my family, and for anyone that is in our position of having to fight for their right to a happy and healthy workplace.


My Last Night: my legs feel like jello, but I feel stronger than ever

Tonight will be my last night sleeping out here on the sidewalk. I'm actually writing this from inside my tent. I had to lie down because I felt like I was going to throw up. My legs feel like jello, and I won't even bother trying to describe the hunger that I'm feeling. Let's just say that it isn't normal.

I have mixed feelings about this week-long hunger strike coming to an end. On the one hand, I am ecstatic and overjoyed that by tomorrow at this hour, I'll be home with my wife, three kids, and my mom. And on the other hand, I have to say that I am really sad that this journey that I took with the rest of my friends and fasters is coming to an end. Yes, it has been one of the most difficult things I've done in my life, but the bonds that were created, and the moments that we shared together, will always be some of the most memorable and significant experiences in my life. To be connected to my coworkers by the fact that we are all fighting for our children and our families, while enduring seven days with no food and sleeping in tents on the street in the cold, away from our loved ones, is something that we will never let go of. We shared laughs, we sang, we prayed, and we cried together.

Anaheim City Councilwoman Lorri Galloway, with fasting Disney hotel employee Narciso GuevaraAnd even though this has been an out of this world experience, it doesn't mean that our disappointment, and disgust towards Disney's arrogance and abuse has disappeared.  We might be physically weak, but our determination, our spirit, and our willingness to fight is greater than ever. We will will fight for as long as it takes until Disney realizes that its actions are embarrassing, shameful, and unjust.

By the way, today we had some very special guests stop by and pledge their full support! They were House Speaker Elect John Perez and Assemblymember Jose Solorio. Assemblymember Hector de la Torre and Senator Gloria Romero joined us as well to share their support.  And, of course, our one and only, Anaheim City Councilwoman Lorri Galloway. Once again, we are not alone in this struggle. And every day throughout these past six days, we've seen it with our own eyes.

House Speaker-elect John Perez and Assemblymember Jose Solorio with thank-you pickets signed by the fastersI also want to thank everyone who has followed us through this blog. I don't know who you are, but I know that you care. Tomorrow we will end our hunger strike at 5 pm. We will have a march that will start right here on Disneyland Drive in front of Disney's Grand Californian Hotel. I would like to invite you to attend. Even if you don't work for any of the three Disney hotels. After all, an injury to one is an injury to all.


A Difficult Day

Elpy Escobar, a LAX worker, who had to leave the Fast on Sunday after experiencing medical problemsSunday was one of the most difficult days for me. Before, I was able fight off the hunger, but Sunday I couldn't shake it off. I can actually say that this hunger was like torture. The weakness that I felt was also pretty intense. I'm not used to not having energy, but I guess it's normal after not eating for five days. It actually really got me thinking about all the innocent children around the world that have to endure this because they don't have anything to eat, and they go on for a lot longer than this. That broke my heart.

Another thing that broke me was seeing one of our fellow fasters, Elpy Escobar, driven away in an ambulance. Elpy works at the LAX airport, but came down here to support our fight, because she said that this struggle isn't just about Disney hotel workers. It's about all of the workers that are being mistreated. She started to feel pain in her left arm, and she started to breathe heavily. Just by looking at her I could tell that something was wrong. We called 911 and shortly after, the paramedics came. We were later informed that Elpy could have had a heart attack, but thanks to the swift action of our team, and the paramedics, she didn't. Thank God.

While all this was happening, I felt a combination of concern, sadness and anger. It's really frustrating to be pushed to do something like this. We have to put our own health in jeopardy in order to let Disney know that what they are doing isn't a joke. Their attempt to make a profit off their employees by slashing healthcare is completely unethical, and it goes against everything they pretend to be.

Well, that is changing.

The fact that workers have decided to stand up against Disney's abuse has captured the attention of thousands of people around the world, and they're realizing that Disney isn't really that magical after all. Folks are realizing that Disney doesn't create magical dreams for its workers here in Anaheim; it shreds them.


NUHW Member Joins UNITE HERE Fasters: Guest blog from a support faster

Jim Clifford, Kaiser therapist and NUHW member, at the community rally on SaturdayThe eight UNITE HERE members fasting in protest against the Disney Corporation are fittingly camped out along Disneyland drive - the main road taking visitors to their hotels - Paradise Pier and Grand California among them.  They are protesting Disney's relentless push for ever greater profits despite Disney's $3 billion profit last year.  Such pressure ends up on the backs, shoulders, knees and bodies of the Disney staff who are pressed to work ever harder and quicker.

But they've worked the past 2 years with no contract in part because Disney whose image rests on a much promoted and supposedly family friendly image wants to end the paid family medical coverage that workers won in previous contracts.  This Disney strategy will force these mainly low-wage workers to choose between paying up to $500 per month toward family healthcare premiums or toward other necessities such as food, shelter and clothing for their children.

Supporters stop by at all hours of the day and night including some who decide to join the fast for the day.  I joined the group Friday night and stayed here til Sunday night.

My name is Jim Clifford and I work at Kaiser Permanente and I'm one of the 2300 healthcare professionals, 85 percent of whom just voted to form our own National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW).

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Tom Morello Stands With Us

Tom Morello invited members of the crowd to join him on stageJust when we think the level of support that we, the fasters and the workers have, can't get any bigger, we are proven wrong. Yesterday, the fasters and I were shuttled over to the entrance of the Disneyland Hotel, where the Anaheim Police had blocked the street for a rally and performance by none other than, Tom Morello, the guitarist from one of my favorite bands, Rage Against the Machine.

The first thing we saw was a picket line with our co-workers, friends, community, and families marching. My mom, wife and three kids where in there also. To see the people that I love most in this world marching in support of this fight was one of the most inspiring moments of my life. After all, it's my family’s health care that's in jeopardy here. And the fact that they have chosen to stand up and fight instead of letting Disney step on them is something that just gave me more strength than ever to keep going.

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