Disney has been forced to lay off 28,000 domestic castmembers as COVID-19 continues to impact the company as well as an unwillingness for California to work with them to reopen.
Following a profit loss of 91% in 2020 due to the continuing pandemic affecting the entire world, Disney Josh D’Amaro, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products released a statement today that 28,000 domestic employees will be laid off.
Disney announced that 67% of the layoffs will be part-time workers from the Parks, Experiences and Products Unit.
Disney has practically begged the state of California to work with them to reopen Disneyland. Although many have criticized Disney’s insistence on reopening, Disneyland makes up over $5.7 billion of Southern California’s revenue.
The Anaheim Mayor has been vocal about the strain the shutdown is putting on businesses, individuals and the economy as a whole. In addition, a group of 18 California senators and assemblymembers issued a letter on Monday asking Governor Gavin Newsom to issue guidelines for theme parks to reopen.
A memo sent by D’Amaro to employees was obtained by CNN and it stated, “As you can imagine, a decision of this magnitude is not easy. We’ve cut expenses, suspended capital projects, furloughed our cast members while still paying benefits, and modified our operations to run as efficiently as possible, however, we simply cannot responsibly stay fully staffed while operating at such limited capacity.”
With two domestic parks still shutdown, out-of-state visitors slow to resume travel, pandemic guidelines, capacity restrictions and more, Disney is struggling to support their employees and still turn a profit which is of course necessary for the business.
Here is the full statement from Josh D’Amaro:
In light of the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on our business, including limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and the continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic – exacerbated in California by the State’s unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen – we have made the very difficult decision to begin the process of reducing our workforce at our Parks, Experiences and Products segment at all levels, having kept non-working Cast Members on furlough since April, while paying healthcare benefits. Approximately 28,000 domestic employees will be affected, of which about 67% are part-time. We are talking with impacted employees as well as to the unions on next steps for union-represented Cast Members. Over the past several months, we’ve been forced to make a number of necessary adjustments to our business, and as difficult as this decision is today, we believe that the steps we are taking will enable us to emerge a more effective and efficient operation when we return to normal. Our Cast Members have always been key to our success, playing a valued and important role in delivering a world-class experience, and we look forward to providing opportunities where we can for them to return.Josh D’Amaro
Related: Hawaii’s Plan To Reopen Tourism
Disney isn’t begging California to provide guidelines simply to open the doors and make money for themselves. The Disney shutdown is drastically affecting workers, local business, the state economy which is already in disarray.
These layoffs are in part a direct result of the California Governor’s refusal to provide guidelines for Disney to safely reopen their doors, pay their employees and boost the state economy. Something California is in desperate need of as their debt continues to skyrocket amid not only the pandemic but wildfires running rampant through the state.
According to World Population Review, California has the fifth-highest debt of any state with total liabilities coming out to $287.79 billion. Total assets come out to $250.78 billion, giving California a debt ratio of 107.9%. The state can’t afford to not play ball with Disney and neither can those who are currently out of work and no longer receiving benefits as a result of these layoffs.
Disneyland continuing to be shuttered will only add to the spiral of California debt, the strain on individuals and more. The action of laying off 28,000 individuals isn’t simply due to a pandemic. It is also a result of a state leader refusing to work with or even communicate with a massive revenue supplier in the state.
This isn’t just about opening a theme park. It’s about throwing a lifesaving device to the thousands of struggling workers and businesses suffering from this refusal to communicate with a major money making player.
Stay tuned for more on this story as it unfolds.