Disney slammed by unions for 'covering up' coronavirus cases and keeping employees in the darkSeptember 7, 2020
DISNEY has been slammed by several unions for "covering up" coronavirus cases and keeping its employees in the dark.
Since reopening the Downtown District at Disneyland, California, there has been no on-site testing and Disney Labor Relations Director Bill Pace called testing "not viable" and prone to "false negatives," in a June letter to the unions, despite the fact that it had been implemented in Orlando, the Daily Beast reported.
However, four sources familiar with the matter told the outlet that most alarmingly Disney has been keeping the number of positive coronavirus cases at the district secret.
Instead, the company has allegedly only told unions about the number of diagnosed employees, according to the Beast.
The outlet reported that Disney would allegedly often leave reporting its cases until days after receiving the results, causing employees to wonder why their colleagues were not coming into work.
At one point, 11 people from the 12-person Horticulture Irrigation team didn't turn up for work for a week, the outlet reported.
"We want to know if any cast members have tested positive. But Disney has taken the position that they’re only going to tell us if our cast members do," Matt Bell, a spokesperson for UFCW Union Local 324, told the Beast.
"What is supposed to happen is contact tracing—find out who was exposed and quarantine them as well. I can’t confirm that they’ve done that."
Bell told the outlet that Disney had only reported two positive cases among its members but did not provide contact tracing details.
An anonymous spouse of a cast member also told the outlet: "Basically all of our COVID information has come from word of mouth co-workers texting each other, co-workers talking to each other, and things that my [spouse] has seen on the job.
"None of this is from any of the managers. Disney management is not really officially acknowledging that any of this is happening."
In a string of text messages, read by the outlet, employees discussed their colleagues' coronavirus status including some who have been quarantined and hospitalized.
One unnamed employee who tested positive for the deadly virus was also allegedly cleared to work following his diagnosis.
Chris Duarte, of Workers United Local 50, told the Beast: "We've heard from other members in the coalition that there have been outbreaks in Downtown Disney.
"I don't know a lot of the details about where they work and what they do. But we have heard from our other partners that they have had some people working in Downtown Disney contract the disease."
Anthony Novello, the president of the pipefitters' union, Local 582, also told the outlet: "Sure, a couple people have tested positive that we know about.
"I know there's two or three guys that were in one unit, and one of them got it and the other two were told to stay home… But they haven’t told us there’s this many cases inside the park."
The Sun has contacted Disney for comment.
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