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Actors' Equity Files Grievance Against Walt Disney World for Retaliating Over Request for Testing at Disney World

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Actors' Equity Files Grievance Against Walt Disney World for Retaliating Over Request for Testing at Disney World

With days until Walt Disney World's scheduled reopening, Actors' Equity Association has filed a grievance against Disney for retaliating against members for Equity's demand that performers be tested for coronavirus.

On June 23, Disney announced plans to recall members for rehearsals the following week. On June 25 Equity made a public statement that actors need to be tested because actors cannot practice social distancing. The following day, on June 26, Walt Disney World rescinded all of its recall notices for Equity members.

"Since our public request that Disney test performers in the park, there have been more than 114,000 new coronavirus cases in Florida," said Mary McColl, executive director of Actors' Equity Association. "Rather than agree to testing of performers, Disney has decided to retaliate against workers fighting for a safe workplace during this pandemic."

Actors' Equity represents around 750 performers at Walt Disney World. According to media reports this week Disney has "decided to move forward with our phased reopening without [Equity members'] participation."

Actors' Equity announced on April 24 it had retained Dr. David Michaels, the former head of OSHA under President Obama, to advise on health and safety protocols. On May 26 Equity released four principles for safe and healthy theatrical work, which included the explanation, "This means that there is extensive testing and very few if any new cases are being identified in the area..."

Actors' Equity president Kate Shindle told Bloomberg: "There's lot of people who can do their work when they're wearing a mask and gloves. Our people can't do that," Shindle continued to say that regular Covid-19 testing is "just very important to our membership, who otherwise is overwhelmingly eager to get back to work."


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