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Disney Lays Off a Quarter of U.S. Theme Park Employees

Income at Disney’s worldwide theme park division totaled $1 billion in the latest quarter, an 85 % decline from the identical interval a yr earlier. Working revenue plunged by $three.7 billion, leading to a quarterly lack of $2 billion. Mr. D’Amaro mentioned on Tuesday that the restructuring would create a extra “efficient and environment friendly operation once we return to regular.”

The remainder of Disney has been bouncing again. Reside sports activities returned to ESPN in August. Film and tv manufacturing has restarted, though Disney continues to postpone movie releases. Disney+ has been rising quickly sufficient to maintain Disney’s inventory worth comparatively excessive at $125, down three % from a yr in the past.

Central Florida’s once-booming leisure and hospitality business has been decimated by the pandemic. Unemployment in Orange County — dwelling to Disney World, the Common Orlando Resort, SeaWorld and dozens of mom-and-pop vacationer sights — stood at 11.6 % in August, up from three.1 % in August 2019, in accordance with the Florida Division of Financial Alternative. Osceola County, which abuts Disney World to the south, had 15.1 % unemployment in August, up from three.5 %.

Statewide, the August unemployment charge in Florida was 7.four %.

Common Orlando laid off a gentle stream of workers over the summer time and lately notified state officers that about 5,400 employees had been positioned on prolonged furlough. SeaWorld laid off 1,900 workers at its Orlando properties this month. A number of days earlier than its layoffs, SeaWorld stunned employees by altering its severance coverage, transferring to a discretionary system from a set components based mostly on tenure.

Employees at Common and SeaWorld aren’t unionized.

“The layoffs and furloughs have been devastating,” mentioned Mike McElmury, trustee of Teamsters Native 385, which represents about 5,000 Disney World bus drivers, laundry employees and entertainers, together with those that greet guests in costume as Disney characters. A minimum of 2,000 have been nonetheless on furlough as of Monday. “We’re on the level the place individuals are having a tough time determining the place they may get their subsequent meal,” Mr. McElmury mentioned.

Over the summer time, Orlando unions created a weekly meals financial institution for furloughed theme park employees. Eric Clinton, president of Unite Right here Native 362, which represents roughly eight,000 Disney World experience operators, custodians, parking workers and trip planners, mentioned that the meals financial institution was initially stocked to serve about 200 folks. About 800 have been supplied with free groceries on Saturday, with the road stretching two miles, Mr. Clinton mentioned.

Unite Right here associates have spent greater than $100,000 on the hassle, partly by soliciting donations on its web site.

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