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Disneyland's character actors and performers vote to unionize

Actors and performers at Disneyland Resort who portray characters like Mickey Mouse are forming a union after the Actors Equity Association said 79% voted in favor of unionization.

Actors and performers who portray characters like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Cinderella at Disneyland Resort voted to unionize, the Actors Equity Association announced Saturday night.

Cast members at Disneyland Resort first announced their intent to form a union in February and organized under the name Magic United. The union said 79% voted in favor of unionizing, with 953 votes in favor to 258 against in the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) vote.

While most of the 35,000 workers at Disneyland are already unionized, the union noted that workers in the characters and parades department were an exception prior to the vote. The NLRB will be able to certify the vote within a week if there are no challenges to the election, per the union's statement.

"They say that Disneyland is 'the place where dreams come true,' and for the Disney Cast Members who have worked to organize a union, their dream came true today," Actors Equity Association president Kate Shindle said in a statement.


"These workers are on the front lines of Guest experience; they're the human beings who create lifelong memories when your kids hug a character, or when your family watches a parade roll by the castle," Shindle said. 

"The next step will be to collaborate with them about improving health and safety, wages, benefits, working conditions and job security. After that, we will meet with representatives of the Walt Disney Company to negotiate those priorities into a first contract."

"These Cast Members are both pro-union and pro-Disney, and they're looking forward to meeting their employer across the bargaining table in a good faith effort to make both the work experience and the Guest experience better," Shindle's statement added.


The Disneyland Resort includes Disneyland Park and Disney's California Adventure, plus three hotels and Downtown Disney. It first opened in 1955 and is one of the world's most attended theme parks and entertainment attractions.

Actors Equity Association said it has a "good working relationship with Disney" and noted that it currently represents performers and stage managers at Walt Disney World in Orlando, as well as Disney Theatricals on Broadway and national tours. 


The union currently represents a total of more than 51,000 actors and stage managers around the country.

A Disney spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement, "While voting is complete, there are still steps in the process prior to the election being certified, so it is premature for the company to comment on the results. Whatever the outcome, we respect that our cast members had the opportunity to have their voices heard."

FOX Business' Breck Dumas contributed to this report.

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