We all knew this was coming, but that doesn't make it any less sad. Back in March, the COVID-19 pandemic became very real for residents of the United States, and to say that the response to the pandemic hasn't been great would be the biggest understatement of 2020. Many things got shut down, a lot of people lost their jobs, but some companies did try to go out of their way to hold onto their employees, seemingly under the impression that this would all be sorted out in a couple of months. Well, it's not sorted out, not even close, and after six months, some major companies have officially started downsizing. One of those companies is Disney, whose parks in Florida have opened with limited capacity but Disneyland in California remains closed. Chairman of Parks, Experience, and Products Josh D'Amaro released a statement yesterday saying they would be laying off 28,000 people due to COVID-19.
"In light of the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on our business, including limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and the continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic — exacerbated in California by the State's unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen — we have made the very difficult decision to begin the process of reducing our workforce at our Parks, Experiences and Products segment at all levels, having kept non-working Cast Members on furlough since April, while paying health care benefits. Approximately 28,000 domestic employees will be affected, of which about 67% are part-time. We are talking with impacted employees as well to the unions on next steps for union-represented Cast Members.
Over the past several months, we've been forced to make a number of necessary adjustments to our business, and as difficult as this decision is today, we believe that the steps we are taking will enable us to emerge a more effective and efficient operation when we return to normal. Our Cast Members have always been ley to our success, playing a valued and important role in delivering a world-class experience, and we look forward to providing opportunities where we can for them to return."
The part of the statement that people really took issue with was the low key implication that this was the state of California's fault for not allowing them to reopen the parks, which is certainly a take. Maybe not the right direction to go when the statement says that most of these people are part-timers. It wouldn't be that much money to take the average workweek for those part-timers and pay them out for the rest of 2020, at least. 2020 has been rough, but you are Disney, and some of the parks are open and bringing stuff in. Their next investors call isn't until November, so it's going to be interesting to see how they try to spin this.
We at Bleeding Cool are very sorry that all of these cast members have lost their jobs. You do not work at Disney for the money; you work there because you love it, and all of these people losing the jobs they probably love is sad.