Peter Pan, Tinkerbell arrested


32 protesters arrested outside Disneyland

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Cinderella, Snow White, Tinkerbell and other fictional fixtures of modern-day childhood were handcuffed, frisked and loaded into police vans Thursday at the culmination of a labor protest that brought a touch of reality to the Happiest Place on Earth.

The arrest of the 32 protesters, many of whom wore costumes representing famous Disney characters, came at the end of an hour-long march to Disneyland’s gates from one of three Disney-owned hotels at the center of a labor dispute.

Those who were arrested sat in a circle on a busy intersection outside the park holding hands until they were placed in plastic handcuffs and led to two police vans while hundreds of hotel workers cheered and chanted.

The protesters were arrested on a misdemeanor count of failure to obey a police officer and two traffic infractions, said Sgt. Rick Martinez of the Anaheim police. They were cited and released, Sgt. Chris Schneider said.

Bewildered tourists in Disney T-shirts and caps, some pushing strollers, filed past the commotion and gawked at the costumed picketers getting hauled away. The protest shut down a major thoroughfare outside Disneyland and California Adventure for nearly an hour.

“It’s changing my opinion of Disneyland,” said tourist Amanda Kosato, who was visiting from north of Melbourne, Australia. “Taking away entitlements stinks.”

The dispute involves about 2,300 maids, bell hops, cooks and dishwashers at three Disney-owned hotels: the Paradise Pier, the Grand Californian and the Disneyland Hotel.

The workers’ contract expired in February and their union says Disney’s latest proposal makes health care unaffordable for hundreds of employees and creates an unfair two-tier wage system. The union also says Disney wants to create a new category of part-time employees who would receive greatly reduced benefits.

“The other hotels around the area all have health care that is provided by the boss and have been able to get wage increases,” said Ada Briceno, president of Unite Here Local 681, which represents the workers.

“At the other hotels in the same classification, for the same work, the workers get paid $2 to $3 an hour more.”

Disney spokeswoman Lisa Haines said Disney and the union are in negotiations and nothing has been finalized. She said workers have protested 14 times but sat down to negotiate only 11 times in the past six months.

“Clearly we’re disappointed that Unite Here Local 681 has spent more time protesting,” she said. “Publicity stunts are not productive and are extremely disruptive to the resort district.”

Before the arrests, the picketers marched and chanted outside Paradise Pier, holding signs that read, “Disney is unfaithful,” and “Mickey, shame on you.” They were joined by community activists and religious leaders from local churches.

Luz Vasquez, who works in the bakery at Disneyland Hotel, said she can’t afford to lose many of her benefits. She said it’s already hard to care for her three grandchildren and aging mother while earning $14.32 an hour.

“Disneyland is being unfair with us because we’re fighting for our health care and they’re trying to take it away,” said Vasquez, 45. “They’re trying to cut our hours and take away our seniority.”

Co-worker Diane Dominguez, 50, said she was worried about losing health care because of the heavy labor involved in lifting mattresses, moving furniture and making dozens of beds a day. She also said rising prices and the cost of gas were eating into her salary of $11.11 an hour.

“The most important is health care. We need that and they want to take it away,” she said.

At the heart of the issue is a free health care plan that has been provided to Disney hotel workers through a trust fund that Disney and other unionized hotels in the area pay into.

Briceno said that in exchange for the free medical plan, union members agreed in previous contracts to a lower wage for hotel workers in the first three years of their employment.

But Disney now wants to eliminate the free health plan for new hires and wants to create a new class of workers who put in less than 30 hours a week, said Briceno. Those part-time workers would receive no sick or vacation pay and not be given holidays, she said.

The company also wants to increase the number of hours full-time employees must work before qualifying for the health plan, she said.

“At the end of the day what it means is that workers are going to be priced out of health care,” she said.

Haines said the majority of other employees at Disneyland pay for a share of their health plan, even though the resort shoulders about 75 percent of the overall cost. She said it’s important to negotiate a contract that’s fair to those other unions, too.

“We do remain hopeful that we can reach an agreement that’s both fair and equitable, providing that union leadership is reasonable and realistic in its approach,” Haines said.


What was the date of this article?

I always knew Tinkerbell was a rebel, you fight girl! :tongue:


Today - August 15, 2008


I think they should be able to protest for whatever they want…but dressing up as characters and letting kids see them get arrested. I am sorry–that’s not cool. If I had to explain that to my imaginary child I would have been irate.


:laugh: imaginary child! I love it!

But I also agree with you–I would hate for my kids to see something like that. Protest all you want, but please don’t tarnish my children’s idols like that.:closedeye


I could be wrong but I get the impression they weren’t dressed in official Disney character costume. For some reason I picture the protesters in Halloween-type costume dress insinuating Disney characters. To which I would tell my “invisible child” :laugh: that they were being arrested for pretending to be Tinkerbell & Snow White so close to where the real ones live. :laugh:


Even Disney CM are not immune to the thousands of companies that are not providing or charging high prices for insurance. I feel for them and I wouldn’t want to see them getting arrested yet if I was the CEO of Disney I wouldn’t want them parading around my park in customes that children (and adults) love to see having fun.


I am of the exact same opinion.


I COMPLETELY agree. Fake Disney-like costumes or not, I would have been mad to try to explain that to my daughter.




I’m pretty sure that’s why they did it! A low blow in my estimation, but it got some attention!


I have to agree! Not good! Protest, it is your right, but regardless if they are in official costumes or not, not really fair to the kids!


I just read this on MSN. How horrible.
Let’s see if this link works because there is a picture of Peter Pan being put into a police car:
Costumed workers arrested at Disneyland - Crime & courts -
They don’t look like “true” costumes to me.


I agree! They should never have dressed in costume. What a low blow!


It sounds like negotiations are not going well and this was the workers chance to get the attention of the public and the media. Don’t think the costumes (which were not the official Disney ones)were appropriate, but they must have felt like they had to do something to reach a compromise.

Times are tough. Everyone deserves a fair wage. I know Disney has to watch their bottom line, but they also need to pay their workers a fair wage and should provide reasonable benefits. These type of workers are the backbone of the resorts! A thankless job for sure.

Here’s hoping that thier negotiations lead to a compromise that both sides are happy with…


I understand the CMs frustration and wanting the benefits etc and protesting is their right. What I don’t understand is WHY they would do it in costume…how dare them do that where children could see them. It’s selfish.


My health insurance went up 50% last year!!! I got the double whammy of age bracket increase plus the “normal” annual increase of 10-20%. We had to drop our company paid group plan. Health insurance coverage has become my 2nd highest expense! We now have $1500 deductable plan and pray nobody actually gets sick.

We are all feeling the pinch. Companies have the choice of tightening the belts, laying people off, or increasing prices - usually all of the above. It’s an ugly fact of life.

Disney is actually pretty liberal with benefits from what I’ve been told by CMs. If WallyMart or some other place was better they’d be there.

And I agree with DANA totally. That is just tacky. They have the right to protest, go work somewhere else, whatever. Disney spends too much time on creating the image and when families spend $$$$$ they expect what they pay for. But creating ugly scenes only hurts themselves in the long run.

I’m guessing that they have violated company policy big time. I wonder how many of them will have a job when they get back?!?! Can you say “YOU’RE FIRED” and “NO UNEMPLOYMENT” boys and girls?


:ohmy: Any way you look at this, it’s awful.


Everyone deserves proper health care. Disney’s treatment of their employees is well-known to be less than magical.

I think most children are savvy enough to realize that these aren’t the “real” characters. Sometimes there are things that are more important than the “magic”.


llama, I think that could be said of most (not all) companies here in the USA. It’s all about making a big profit & paying out less. I have heard that many other 1st world nations look after their employees & have seen healthy profits for doing so. Sadly, this is an idea that has yet to catch on here.