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Orlando Sentinel

Disney / Unions Reach Vaccine Mandate

Six unions agree to vaccine mandate in the Orlando park

Brian Young's picture
Aug 24, 2021

On Monday the FDA announced that they would be granting full authorization for the Pfizer COVID vaccine. Following the announcement, employers like the City of New York began announcing vaccine mandates for some of their workers. New York City received significant backlash from the unions that represent these workers, including the unions filing a lawsuit to stop the enforcement of the new vaccine policy.

One employer that is not facing a backlash is Disney World who has announced that a deal has been reached with their unions to require vaccines. According to the Service Trades Council Union, which is comprised of 6 affiliate unions that represent the 43,000 unionized Disney cast members, the two sides negotiated an agreement that union cast members would be required to show proof of vaccination beginning on October 22nd. The union was able to negotiate accommodations for members who have an underlying medical condition that prevents them from being vaccinated or “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

“This process ensures prompt processing of requests for accommodation, weekly meetings between the Union and Company to address concerns as they arise, an explanation if any accommodation is denied, and access to the grievance procedure should there be a dispute on the accommodation request,” the union said in their statement.

Cast members who don’t comply with the vaccine order and who do not get accommodation from the company will be fired from Disney with a “yes” rehire status. To help get workers vaccinated as quickly as possible, Disney is also hosting on-site vaccine events over the next several weeks. Since it takes six weeks for the employee to be considered fully vaccinated, workers would need to get their shots in the next two weeks to comply with the October 22nd deadline. According to the union, Disney will be using the Pfizer vaccine at these on-site events. The full agreement can be read here.

“There’s no question that being vaccinated is by far the best way to protect yourself as a front-line worker,” said Eric Clinton, the President of UNITE HERE Local 362, the largest union at Disney World. “It does not alter your DNA, and it does not make you magnetic.”

Clinton also said that there was wide support within his union for a vaccine mandate. He said the union surveyed their members and about 70% supported the move.

In a statement from Disney to Variety, the company said “We appreciate the communication and collaboration with the union representatives as we put the safety of our Cast Members at the forefront of our health and safety protocols – getting the vaccine is the best way to protect each other.”

According to CNBC, a similar deal has not been reached with the unions that represent workers at Disneyland.

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