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  • The effect of Unions at Disneyland

    This is something I have been thinking about for some time, but have not seen on here. I placed it in Disneyland because Disneyland is the park that is Union, and would allow for easy comparison to other parks that are not. Specifically I am curious what effect the Unions have on CM morale, what effect they have on Disney's bottom line, and the debate over if they are even effective.

    From a positive standpoint the Unions protect worker's rights, benefits, and pay. They ensure that Disney can't trample on it's workers. I have known many great shop stewards who were able to save individuals jobs, and call "foul" when it was appropriate. I know the shady side of Disney, and for that I am glad they are there.

    From a negative standpoint, everyone is the same no matter how much or how little you work. It is based on how long you are there, and ensures that you simply do your job. You get paid same as the CM next to you, who may work harder, or may slack off. It makes it difficult for Disney to weed out the "bad apples", and costs the company money in the form of benefits (vacation, sick, medical, dental, 401k).

    From a neutral standpoint I feel the Union is simply maintaining what it has. I have been through several contract negotiations, and every time what is promised is completely different from what was delivered. I can't completely blame Disney because the Union members ultimately vote on the contract. However, if enough individuals do not vote (non vote counts as a yes) then the contract passes by sheer neglect. High seniority CM's are usually the main demographic that votes because they have the most invested in the company. Anyone can tell you that the seniority at Disneyland has been steadily plummeting! Personally I feel the Union has become ineffective, as contracts have become worse and top-out pay has been frozen for some time. It's members are no longer fully united, and the threat of a strike is a laughable joke. The Union... has done little more then trying to protect what it has.

    So I am curious what all of this has on the effect of CM's morale, behavior, and Disney's actual bottom line... any thoughts?
    "Happiness is a Low Water Level"

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  • #2
    Re: The effect of Unions at Disneyland

    I have never worked at DL so I probably unable to speak to your subject but I do have a question? Do the different groups have different unions Do the people working the attractions have a different union than the food services people? Do the maintenance staff such as electricians, plumbers, painters and assorted trade skill people have a separate union or unions?
    Originally posted by SummerInFL
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    • #3
      Re: The effect of Unions at Disneyland

      I'm not sure how this translates to CMs, because I have never worked at DLR. However in my experience with Unions (at least in this century) they are more cumbersome than anything else.

      I worked with a teachers union up here in the bay area, and they did more harm than good. I was never backed up when there was an actual dispute, there were no real benefits, and a HUGE chunk of my check was deducted every month for dues.

      If I could have opted out of the union, I would have.

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      • #4
        Re: The effect of Unions at Disneyland

        Originally posted by DCAFTW View Post
        I'm not sure how this translates to CMs, because I have never worked at DLR. However in my experience with Unions (at least in this century) they are more cumbersome than anything else.

        I worked with a teachers union up here in the bay area, and they did more harm than good. I was never backed up when there was an actual dispute, there were no real benefits, and a HUGE chunk of my check was deducted every month for dues.

        If I could have opted out of the union, I would have.
        I agree with DCAFTW on this one. My union experience both when I was working for PG&E and also as a contract security officer were that the union took money out of my check every week and gave me very little in return.

        Currently I am in a labor ASSOCIATION (Law Enforcement can't go on strike to technically we can't have "unions") and it is a help only in that if I am accused of misdeeds while on the job my attourney is provided by the association in my defense in any IA or court proceedings. Other than that the association takes my dues and gives us a occasional summer picinic party in return.

        As techskip says a union/association makes it very hard to weed out the total lops who are worthless liabilities. I have witnessed fellow employees both in my past jobs and my current one who really did conduct themselves in a bad way or even illegally and yet retain their job because the attourney found a loop hole or a technicality. They all celebrate and claim that as a win, I don't see it that way however.

        It's a rock and a hard place. With no labor representation there are indeed employers who would take advantage of their employees in very bad and even unsafe ways. But an overly complacent labor representation can be just as self serving and damaging.
        Last edited by Goofy Daddy; 12-12-2007, 07:48 AM.

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        • #5
          Re: The effect of Unions at Disneyland

          ^^^^^^

          I'm with you! (literally)

          Great points!

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          • #6
            Re: The effect of Unions at Disneyland

            Originally posted by Goofy Daddy View Post
            It's a rock and a hard place. With no labor representation there are indeed employers who would take advantage of their employees in very bad and even unsafe ways. But an overly complacent labor representation can be just as self serving and damaging.
            This is very true.

            However, the union at DL is only as strong as it's membership.
            From what I have witnessed, a lot of members don't attend meetings, and some don't know who their shop steward is.

            If anyone thinks that Disney would take good care of their employees without the union's presence, then ask yourself this. Why is there union representation there now?
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            • #7
              Re: The effect of Unions at Disneyland

              The strike during the 80's was pretty much the end of the unions at Disneyland. Most contracts since then have just been exercises in further eroding whatever gains had been made in previous contracts.

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              • #8
                Re: The effect of Unions at Disneyland

                I don't think Unions were always useless. There was a time when unions were a necessity, and served a purpose. I think now however, since the government has stepped in to handle a large portion of fair employment concerns, and companies have realized they need to be competitive to retain their employees, unions have become less necessary.

                I have a similar feeling about Affirmative Action, but that's for another thread.

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                • #9
                  Re: The effect of Unions at Disneyland

                  Originally posted by Druggas View Post
                  This is very true.

                  However, the union at DL is only as strong as it's membership.
                  From what I have witnessed, a lot of members don't attend meetings, and some don't know who their shop steward is.

                  If anyone thinks that Disney would take good care of their employees without the union's presence, then ask yourself this. Why is there union representation there now?
                  Most labor representaion organisations have the same problem. Last year my asociation voted on whether or not we wanted to go to a shift bid type of schedule system (bidding by seniority as to what shift and what area one wanted to work) as opposed to what we have now (the "scheduling manager-a Lieutenant from command staff) deciding on when transfers were done.

                  Out of an association of over 250 members we received a total of 93 votes. Pathetic.

                  DCAFTW is right...unions had their purpose. I also think that there are still some companys that need to have a union to keep managment in check. Still, unions that have grown complacent or so bloated they are a business unto themselves can do more harm to their members in the long run than good.

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                  • #10
                    Re: The effect of Unions at Disneyland

                    Originally posted by Goofy Daddy View Post
                    I agree with DCAFTW on this one. My union experience both when I was working for PG&E and also as a contract security officer were that the union took money out of my check every week and gave me very little in return.
                    In agreement with you both here. The 'can you afford NOT to have us?' argument is losing steam with many union workers who are seeing the diminishing power unions enjoy in many markets.
                    Currently I am in a labor ASSOCIATION (Law Enforcement can't go on strike to technically we can't have "unions") and it is a help only in that if I am accused of misdeeds while on the job my attourney is provided by the association in my defense in any IA or court proceedings.
                    (BOLD mine) Shouldn't that read "...WHEN I am accused of misdeeds..."?

                    I certainly don't know how CMs feel about their union and its negotiating power (or lack of it) with Disney, but it is a universal truth that when Management's reliance on specialized skilled labor diminishes, so does a Union's power over Management. This is not to say CMs are 'easily replaceable', just that Disney may view them as such.

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                    • #11
                      Re: The effect of Unions at Disneyland

                      DCAFTW;2398360]I don't think Unions were always useless. There was a time when unions were a necessity, and served a purpose. I think now however, since the government has stepped in to handle a large portion of fair employment concerns, and companies have realized they need to be competitive to retain their employees, unions have become less necessary.
                      I have managed organizations in both union and non-union environments and was a union member earlier in my career. To be brief, unions had a point when Upton Sinclair was relevant. Today they are an outdated burden on organizations and mostly the poor workers who give up their hard earned money to support an entire infrastructure that not only doesn't add value to them, but also funds political activisim on which they have no input.

                      I have managed "hybrid" organizations where some are union and some aren't and I can assure you not only does the "union" side get no more benefits or higher wages, but most employees prefer to be on the non-union side which provides them same wages, no union dues, and more importantly, the ability to (hope you're sitting down) succeed on their own merits and move up the ladder based on their talent/contribution vs. years on the job.

                      Union membership across the nation continues to erode and our grandkids will only read about them in history books as our legislative environment provides all the protections a worker can dream of and supply and demand always wins - meaning that workers will get paid what the market and their skills bear.

                      Whenever that balance is disrupted, the business fails - so if the union "forces" a car company or logging company or DL to pay more than the market, those companies have to raise prices (above the market) and eventually (as we've seen in the union environments for past 50 years) will have to cut jobs and the business spirals down. This is where you see unions "win the battle and lose the war" - "Hey, we got our raise! Oh, they just laid off 10,000 workers and went bankrupt!"

                      In my companies, I can only say I never gave any more benefits or "protection" to any union employee and never once did I have a non-union employee come to me and beg to be in a union role.

                      In a nutshell, the very concept of unions are outdated and only serve those who can't drive their earnings as a talented individual as, by definition, they cannot rise in a union environment but the sky is the limit outside of a union.

                      Take the writer's strike, sensing the top writers are demanding whatever they want while the strike is only about how to handle those who can only demand the minimums - kind of like the entire minimum wage argument.

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                      • #12
                        Re: The effect of Unions at Disneyland

                        Originally posted by fo'c's'le swab View Post
                        I certainly don't know how CMs feel about their union and its negotiating power (or lack of it) with Disney, but it is a universal truth that when Management's reliance on specialized skilled labor diminishes, so does a Union's power over Management. This is not to say CMs are 'easily replaceable', just that Disney may view them as such.
                        You are correct regarding specialized skills - also, I would think that everyone on this board by definition would be against the union concept as it works to not have the park staffed by the very people we want.

                        For example, there are two employees Joe and Bob who work Jungle Cruise and have been there the same amount of time. Joe is outgoing, wonderful, always smiling, great with kids and has magic coming out of every orifice. On the other hand, Bob is always depressed, moody, and goes about his job doing the bare minimum so he doesn't get fired.

                        In the union world, both get paid exactly the same - which both tells Bob that he has no need to get better and tells Joe that he might as well be like Bob.

                        In a non-union role, I would be free to pay Joe $20/hour and Bob minimum wage (or better yet, fire him without worrying about the union).

                        Again, unions only benefit the least talented and NEVER the consumer.

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                        • #13
                          Re: The effect of Unions at Disneyland

                          IMHO, the union only benefits FT CM's.

                          Given the overwhelming amount of CR's who can barely get any hours and have no benefits yet still pay the same to the union as the FT CM's; I'd say the union is definitely a detriment.

                          Especially in California we have more than enough labor laws in place which work quite well to guarantee employee rights without the need of a union.

                          I'd even venture to say Union's do more harm nowadays to employee rights and privileges than they do good. All they do is make it harder for those who deserve recognition to get what they deserve and have worked so hard for.
                          Last edited by Sadako; 12-12-2007, 09:26 AM.
                          Julie Rei

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                          • #14
                            Re: The effect of Unions at Disneyland

                            Originally posted by fo'c's'le swab View Post
                            (BOLD mine) Shouldn't that read "...WHEN I am accused of misdeeds..."?
                            Why you old son of a...I mean...yes actually it should. It's an unfortunate fact that if you work in L.E. long enough, especially in the gang unit as I do now, someone is going to accuse you of something. (sigh)

                            Oh well, eleven and a half years and I have been to IA only two times, once as a witness and once as the subject (exonerated). I concider that a good record.

                            Sadako is right. Unions are not really designed to "work for" the part time employees or the temps. In college my wife (then GF) had a job as a bell hop at a large San Jose downtown hotel. She was part time, between 15-20 hours a week, was told she had no union coverage/benefits yet still had to pay dues. When I was with PG&E as a summer hire (temporary seasonal work-again for college funds) I was not allowed to join the union but i did have to pay a "shop fee."

                            Supposedly measures like that are in place to keep the "evil corporations" from doing a end run around the unions by hiring all part time or temporary staff. All it did for me and my future bride was cut into our college living money.

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                            • #15
                              Re: The effect of Unions at Disneyland

                              Originally posted by rgrant999 View Post
                              On the other hand, Bob is always depressed, moody, and goes about his job doing the bare minimum so he doesn't get fired.

                              You know me to well.....)

                              "The moose say's you're closed, i say you're open" Clark W. Griswold

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