Over the past year you’ve problem heard or seen something in the news related to the Walt Disney Company’s employment practices. While this developing story has mostly been in the periphery of everyone’s attention, it seems like it just might be here to stay. Now that Bernie Sanders has publicly criticized multiple aspects of Disney’s employment policies while campaigning in California, major critiques of Disney have been thrusted into the front and center of many eco-poly debates.
Let’s take a quick step back and break down the events that’ve led us to this point:
#1) In October 2014, local news outlets began reporting that the Walt Disney Company would be “restructuring” it’s technology group in the Parks and Resorts Division. Disney portrayed the news as though it’s tech department wouldn’t experience any major overhauls that would drastically change the group. In a press release, The House Of Mouse stated it would be “eliminating some positions and replacing them with others that will help the company reach more long-term technology goals”. The entertainment company also stated that the net number of workers in the department following the restructuring would be “similar” to its current level…..
On face value, this news wasn’t interpreted as troubling or super noteworthy. However many felt it was not only strange but also a huge inconvenience for existing Disney employees. As the Orlando Sentinel highlighted in the link above, many workers would be forced to reapply to newly titled positions within 90 days.
So… Total pain in the ass, right? But as the saying goes: “No blood no foul”….. Then came an epically devious heel-turn from the Walt Disney Company.
#2) Within just a couple months, it became clear and apparent that at least 250 different Disney employs would be laid-off and lose their jobs. What was initially depicted as a small-scale “restructuring” became a full-scale firing squad execution of the company’s loyal workers.
Then came the gut-punch that reshaped the entire narrative surrounding Disney’s dismissal of its tech employees:
The Walt Disney Company planned to replace its recently-fired 250 loyal employees with part-time workers from India who were in the United States on H-1B visas. The move was 100% strictly money-motivated. The two clear economic benefits of replacing American employees with H-1B visas are:
- Part-time foreign workers are paid significantly less than American citizens for the same job services.
- Part-time foreign workers are eligible for significantly less employee-benefits, which cost companies a shitload of money. A perfect exemplification of this occurrence is many small-scale businesses replacing full-time workers with part-time workers because they are unable to afford Obamacare’s mandated health insurance plans.
If you’re a middle-class American hoping to make an honest living, this should infuriate you. If you’re one of Disney’s 250 fired “employees”, I can’t imagine how you feel right now. Just know that all the frustration, confusion, and anger is completely warranted. I mean, it’s one thing for American workers to outsource thousands of jobs to other countries in an effort to curb the cost of employee wages. It’s a whole ‘nother story to basically outsource great American jobs to foreigners, WHILE REMAINING IN THE UNITED STATES. That’s beyond ironic. It’s absolutely absurd and unpatriotic.
#3) After intentionally misleading it’s own employees about their eventual firings, and ultimately replacing its own employees with part-time visa holders, Disney went full-douchebag and issued a final condition to its departing workers:
If laid-off workers wanted to receive their full severance packages, the hardworking employees would need to TRAIN THE PART-TIME WORKERS TO PEFORM THEIR OWN JOBS.
What began as an economic disgrace ended up becoming a straight up ethical disgrace. As a fired Disney employee stated “it so humiliating to train somebody else to take over your job. I still can’t grasp it”. Disney basically kicked it’s employees to the ground and proceeded to rub dirt and white dog shit all over their faces.
Ok… Flash forward to the present.
Six months after all 250 Disney workers were given the boot, Bernie Sanders continues to campaign across the country while giving a voice to traditionally marginalized American workers. Among the many economic issues Sanders continues to preach about, Bernie has begun dredging up complaints regarding Disney’s well-documented mistreatment of employees.
While campaigning in California this week, Sanders used Disney as an example of a highly profitable corporation that fails to pay its lowest-skilled workers the necessary wages just to get by (fair comparison, considering Disney’s $2.9BN in earnings for 1Q2016). The Brooklyn Brawler also noted The House Of Mouse’s recent layoffs and new use of H-1B visa workers.
Of course, Disney’s CEO (and avid Hillary Clinton supporter), Bob Iger, got his panties all tied up in a bunch after hearing Bernie’s perfectly accurate comments. Caught in his hypocritical hubris, Bob Iger, who made a disgusting $44.9 Billion last year, had this to say:
“To Bernie Sanders: We created 11,000 new jobs at Disneyland in the past decade, and our company has created 18,000 in the US in the last five years. How many jobs have you created? What have you contributed to the US economy?”
While Iger is correct that Disney employs thousands of Americans, Bobby Boy is purposely being misleading. Iger and Disney have been able to expand and hire new people over the years due to the capital raised on the public markets, which everyday shareholders contributed to. So in reality, Iger is not some god-like figure that’s carrying the American economy on his back. Nah nah nah, Bobby Boy is just the figure head sitting at the top of the giant Mickey Mountain that simply decides who he does or doesn’t want to give money to.
In Don Van Natta’s epic long-form piece covering the events that led to the St Louis Rams relocating to LA, Jerry Jones put Iger back in his place by expressing a similar sentiment. When trying to become a part-owner of the LA NFL franchise, Iger pleaded that he should be considered as a strong option due to all the money and business he granted the NFL over the years.
Jones, always devilishly quick-witted, immediately noted that Iger’s shareholders gave them the money, not him. Apparently this shut Iger the fuck up and lead to the other 31 NFL owners laughing at Bobby Boy’s misguided arrogance.
Hopefully Bernie Sanders continues to highlight Disney’s unethical practices while not allowing Iger to paint himself as an well-doing job God. Dude should be put in place by Bernie, just as Jerry did before.