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Disney Hotel Workers, worried about losing healthcare, dress up as Characters, get Arrested at Disneyland

In the biggest protest yet since Disney and Unite Here began negotiations over a new contract more than 30 protesters were arrested after stopping traffic in an intersection near the entrance to Disneyland while dressed in costumes representing various Disney characters.

The union complains:

The workers’ contract expired in February and their union says Disney’s latest proposal makes health care unaffordable for hundreds of employees and creates an unfair two-tier wage system. The union also says Disney wants to create a new category of part-time employees who would receive greatly reduced benefits.

“The other hotels around the area all have health care that is provided by the boss and have been able to get wage increases,” said Ada Briceno, president of Unite Here Local 681, which represents the workers.

While Disney responds:

Disney spokeswoman Lisa Haines said Disney and the union are in negotiations and nothing has been finalized. She said workers have protested 14 times but sat down to negotiate only 11 times in the past six months.

“Clearly we’re disappointed that Unite Here Local 681 has spent more time protesting,” she said. “Publicity stunts are not productive and are extremely disruptive to the resort district.”

Um, we don’t care about how often negotiations are taking place, only Disney’s justification for reducing hourly wages and benefits. Score one for the union. Disney needs to come clean and make an offer that matches local prevailing wages and includes benefits and full time work.

(via the AP on MSNBC)