Disney World in hot water over Labor Relations

I’m not that knowledgable about the inner workings of the National Labor Relations Board or the contracts between the unions and Disney. But I do know that Disney’s recent decision to oursource some of the frontline customer service jobs at the resort is a bad business decision, despite any short term money savings or labor savings they may provide. It’s bad show plain and simple.

These quotes from today’s Orlando Sentinel story illustrate my point

"When a hotel provides their own in-house third-shift cleaning, they’re
not specialists in what they’re doing. We specialize in what we do,
nothing else," Knoepker said. "We don’t pull our crew away from those
jobs for any customer-service-related issues. That’s covered by the
in-house staff from the resorts. Our crew, we staff and train and
maintain and supervise to do exactly the same job every night. They
don’t have to do guest runs."

Yet the mix of cleaning and customer service is an important part
of the job and one that Disney customers frequently expect, said former
Fort Wilderness custodian Luz Martinez, 41, of Davenport, who left in
November 2005 rather than switch to a day shift when her job was
outsourced.

"I was a custodian, I cleaned and took care of the guests. I was a
runner also," she said. "I dealt with housecleaning, getting them what
they needed."

Disney is trying to save money by cutting the very guest services that make Disney Disney. If Nike were to suddenly sell generic shoes with no swoosh but charge the same price as its branded shoes, eventually people would catch on and stop buying them. The same thing will happen here. People will realize they’re paying Disney $$$ and getting Wal-Mart service.

Turns out not only is it bad show, it might be in violation of labor standards. Which could lead to fines, back pay, and renegotiation of the contracts. The ultra-low unemployment rate (less than 3% in the Orlando area) also gives the unions some negotiation power too. I doubt there would be any way for Disney World to hire the staff it takes to operate their resorts it the unions staged walkouts.

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About Ken Pellman

I was a Disneyland Cast Member for 15 years. Currently a freelance writer.
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