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Disney World Food-Service Workers Rally to Join Labor Union

A majority of Walt Disney World's Sodexo food-service workers say they're ready to join a union. (AFL-CIO/UNITE HERE! Local 362)
A majority of Walt Disney World's Sodexo food-service workers say they're ready to join a union. (AFL-CIO/UNITE HERE! Local 362)
April 13, 2016

ORLANDO, Fla. - A rally by Sodexo's 340 Walt Disney World food-service workers, planned for Thursday, is the latest of several attempts to push for union organization.

Eric Clinton, president of the Central Florida AFL-CIO and UNITE HERE Local 362, said they're seeking a fair process to allow the workers to join the union, but neither Disney nor Sodexo has recognized their efforts so far. He said the goal is wages and benefits that are on par with the park workers who are already union members.

"If there are allowed to be workers on Disney's property who are providing a service for Disney who don't receive those same things," he said, "it can erode all of our benefits."

Clinton said a majority of the Disney World cast members have said they support joining the union, but the plan needs a nod by both Disney and Sodexo to proceed.

Workers at Walt Disney World feed and entertain more than 52 million visitors a year. Clinton called the unionization a "win-win," since fair treatment nurtures better employees - which benefits Disney.

"Any time that workers get treated better by their employer," he said, "they become more loyal, they become harder working, and they stay longer."

Thursday's rally is to start at 5:30 p-m. If the effort is successful, Clinton said, the next step is for union representatives and workers to sit down with Disney and iron out a fair contract.

The background of the union's rally is online at fightforflorida.com.

Deborah Kaye, Public News Service - FL