The unfortunate and sobering news today comes straight from Disney that layoffs at all segments and levels of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products will amount to upwards of 28,000 domestic employees — of which approximately 67% are part-time.
Continuing an increasingly vocal and critical stance, Disney notes that the prolonged impact of COVID-19 coronavirus is exacerbated in California by the State’s “unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen.” Walt Disney World Resort in Florida began a phased reopening of its parks and facilities in July.
Disney has indicated that they are talking with impacted employees as well as to the unions on next steps for union-represented Cast Members.
Letter to Employees
Bellow follows the official letter to employees from Josh D’Amaro, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, dated September 29, 2020.
I write this note to you today to share some difficult decisions that we have had to make regarding our Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products organization.
Let me start with my belief that the heart and soul of our business is and always will be people. Just like all of you, I love what I do. I also love being surrounded by people who think about their roles as more than jobs, but as opportunities to be a part of something special, something different, and something truly magical.
Earlier this year, in response to the pandemic, we were forced to close our businesses around the world. Few of us could have imagined how significantly the pandemic would impact us — both at work and in our daily lives. We initially hoped that this situation would be short-lived, and that we would recover quickly and return to normal. Seven months later, we find that has not been the case. And, as a result, today we are now forced to reduce the size of our team across executive, salaried, and hourly roles.
As you can imagine, a decision of this magnitude is not easy. For the last several months, our management team has worked tirelessly to avoid having to separate anyone from the company. 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.
As heartbreaking as it is to take this action, this is the only feasible option we have 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.
Thank you for your dedication, patience and understanding during these difficult times. I know that these changes will be challenging. It will take time for all of us to process this information and its impact. We will be scheduling appointments with our affected salaried and non-union hourly employees over the next few days. Additionally, today we will begin the process of discussing next steps with unions. We encourage you to visit The Hub or the WDI Homepage for any support you may need.
For those who will be affected by this decision, I want to thank you for all that you have done for our company and our guests. While we don’t know when the pandemic will be behind us, we are confident in our resilience, and hope to welcome back Cast Members and employees when we can.
Disney Parks, Experiences and Products
Resources for Affected Cast Members
Disney has noted that care optoions are being made available to affected employees at al levels. These include:
- Self-serve resources and tools available to all employees for 90 days post-separation.
- HR resources available to all employees post-separation via a dedicated employee resource center, in which Disney’s HR team will answer questions and provide individual support to assist employees in their transition
- Continued access to select Disney Aspire education programs. The Disney Aspire program (aspire.disney.com), which pays 100 percent tuition upfront at network schools for a variety of programs, has remained available to eligible part-time and full-time hourly employees of The Walt Disney Company throughout the pandemic, including for employees who remain on furlough. Depending on the program they are currently enrolled in, Disney Aspire participants who are separated from the Company may have the opportunity to either complete their program in full or complete their current term, even after separation.
- The Walt Disney Company is providing the services of Randstad RiseSmart for 90 days post-separation. Through the Randstad RiseSmart program, executive, salaried, and hourly non-union employees eligible for the Disney Severance Pay Plan will have access to professional career transition coaches and branding experts, valuable resources, and a series of actionable tools, including:
- RESUME SUPPORT: A professionally-written resume and LinkedIn profile critique
- CAREER COACHING: Career coaching on interview techniques and salary negotiations – JOB LEADS: Latest job-matching platform and professionally-sourced job leads
- TALENT DIRECTORY: Public-facing website (disney.risesmart.com) that highlights Disney’s exceptional people for recruiters and prospective employers