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COVID-19

Disney laying off 28,000 employees, mostly at theme parks

Nova Safo Sep 30, 2020
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The company says two-thirds of those who will be laid off are part-time employees. Derek Lee/Disneyland Resort via Getty Images
COVID-19

Disney laying off 28,000 employees, mostly at theme parks

Nova Safo Sep 30, 2020
Heard on:
The company says two-thirds of those who will be laid off are part-time employees. Derek Lee/Disneyland Resort via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Disney has just announced a huge number of layoffs: 28,000 people will lose their jobs, many from its theme parks, with Disney World in Florida running at limited capacity and Disneyland in California still closed.

Disney employs about 100,000 workers at its U.S. theme parks. The company says two-thirds of those who will be laid off are part-time employees.

The head of Disney’s theme parks unit said in a statement that uncertainty over the pandemic’s duration had made cuts unavoidable, while also blaming California’s “unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen.”

In Florida, Walt Disney World is open at limited capacity after the company reached a deal with unions representing workers there on various health safeguards.

Disney workers’ unions released a statement expressing disappointment over the layoffs, saying they have begun negotiations over details such as extended health benefits for affected workers.

Disney posted a loss of almost $5 billion for the three months ending in June, its first quarterly loss in nearly two decades.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What’s the outlook for vaccine supply?

Chief executives of America’s COVID-19 vaccine makers promised in congressional testimony to deliver the doses promised to the U.S. government by summer. The projections of confidence come after months of supply chain challenges and companies falling short of year-end projections for 2020. What changed? In part, drugmakers that normally compete are now actually helping one another. This has helped solve several supply chain issues, but not all of them.

How has the pandemic changed scientific research?

Over the past year, while some scientists turned their attention to COVID-19 and creating vaccines to fight it, most others had to pause their research — and re-imagine how to do it. Social distancing, limited lab capacity — “It’s less fun, I have to say. Like, for me the big part of the science is discussing the science with other people, getting excited about projects,” said Isabella Rauch, an immunologist at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Funding is also a big question for many.

What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?

Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”

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