Facing the uncertainty of the situation wrought by the global coronavirus pandemic, Walt Disney World (WDW) said on Saturday it has reached an agreement with several of its biggest unions and will furlough 43,000 workers starting April 19.
The furloughs will last until whenever the Orlando park—shuttered on March 15 due to the spread of the virus—reopens for business.
According to the financial site The Motley Fool, WDW workers will immediately become eligible for unemployment benefits from the State of Florida along with 12 months of full healthcare coverage at no cost to the employee, paid in full by Disney. Cast members will also continue to collect hours of credit toward pension eligibility and next year’s healthcare benefits as if they had continued their regular work schedule.
Unite Here Central Florida Union leader Eric Clinton said the decision was an “exciting victory…one of the best in the nation.”
Disney executives have already taken a massive pay cut and analysts at JPMorgan Chase say Disney could save approximately $500 million by furloughing most of its theme park employees, but the company provided full salaries to its full-time employees until April 18.
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