The UniteHere Local 11 union is set to stage a fast, starting at 5 p.m., in front of Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa in Anaheim to bring attention to the workers unresolved contractual issues with the resort industry giant. A candlelight vigil will be held for the 10 fasting employees, and Anaheim Councilwoman Lorri Galloway, Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America, and Basema Sharaf, the wife of a Disney cook who died at work, are scheduled to speak.
The disagreement centers mostly on the workers health care plan. Leigh Shelton, spokesperson for Local 11, says the workers turned down pay raises in past negotiations, opting instead to stick with the union's health care, which provides free care for the workers and their families.
Disney wants the workers to pay into the corporate plan. While 30 out of Disney's 31 unions have signed on, Shelton insists this it isn't a viable option for a group of workers who can't afford to pay a fee that could increase yearly. "By the end of the contract this could cost people $500 a month. The majority of the workers make under $13 an hour. They cannot afford that."
Compounding the issue of health care is the hotel's summer remodel, which included meatier mattresses, and double-sized duvets.
"It takes them longer to clean the rooms," says Shelton. "Housekeepers say they're run ragged. We at least need to address the number of rooms they're cleaning. A lot of the housekeepers are getting injured."
UniteHere has scheduled a week's worth of events to draw attention to their cause, including prayer gatherings at 7 a.m. daily and music from Tom Morello on Saturday. See the full schedule below or at Disney Is Unfaithful.org, and come back here for more updates from the hungry workers.
Tuesday: Kick-off candlelight vigil, 5 p.m. at Disney's Grand Californian, 1600 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim.
Wednesday: Make-a-bed action and rally, 5 p.m. at Paradise Pier Hotel, 1717 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim.
Thursday: Union solidarity march, 5 p.m. at Disney's Grand Californian.
Friday: Work-n-Walk, 11 a.m., and community support rally, 5 p.m. at Disney's Grand Californian.
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Saturday: Picketing, 6 a.m., and "Day of Music" featuring Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, 3 p.m. near Paradise Pier Hotel (watch for signs).
Sunday: Valentine's Day Children's Art Action--featuring folklorico dancers, drum lessons and Valentine card making, 2 p.m. at Disney's Grand Californian.
Monday: Work-n-Walk, 11 a.m., and elected official meet-n-greet, 1 p.m. at Disney's Grand Californian.
Tuesday, Feb. 16: UniteHere rally, 5 p.m., at Disney's Grand Californian.