Disney and Actors’ Equity Association Reach Agreement
Disney and the Actors’ Equity Association agreed on COVID-related terms, allowing actors to return to work in Walt Disney World.
Kate Shindle, President of the Actors Union, made this statement to Variety.
We have been consistent that testing is an important park of ensuring a safe workplace for Equity performers, and today, I’m pleased to see that Disney World has agreed. With the news that Disney will make testing available for Equity performers and others in the park, I’m happy to announce that Equity’s executive committee has signed a memorandum of understanding with Disney for Equity performers to return.
Prior to this decision being made, Disney operated without their Equity-sponsored live performers.
Actors’ Equity Association Grievances
When the Disney Parks reopened, the fate of live performances was uncertain. Union actors did not return to work, due to a lack of testing. COVID-19 tests are a large part of the union’s plans to move forward.
After the Parks were running for a little while, the union filed a grievance against Disney. According to them, the company was getting back at the union by rescinding letters to call actors back to work.
In retaliation, Disney stated that other unions representing the rest of their cast members signed agreements to return. Therefore, they reserved the right to operate sans actors.
What Are These New Terms?
Disney will be opening a new COVID-19 testing facility on August 14th for anyone who signs up. The area will support the community surrounding the property.
A Disney representative told Variety that these changes were not made in response to Equity’s COVID guidelines. This decision is strictly to support the Disney community.
When Will Performers Return?
As of now, there is no confirmation as to when performances will begin again. Disney has yet to send notices for actors to return to work.
Once test results return in roughly 2 weeks, maybe we will be more certain about a return date. The decision is all up to Disney from here.