AP

Mouse that roared: Disney characters win local union shakeup

Jun 24, 2019, 4:52 PM | Updated: 5:01 pm
Disney island...
FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2019, file photo, Mickey Mouse celebrates the Super Bowl winning team, the New England Patriots, during the Super Bowl victory parade in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP, File)
(Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP, File)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The mouse that roared was heard.

Months after workers who play Mickey Mouse, Goofy and other characters at Walt Disney World threatened to leave the Teamsters union because of what they called “horrible misrepresentation,” General President James Hoffa appointed two associates Monday to take over the local union.

A letter from Hoffa was posted to the doors of the Local 385 union hall in Orlando, Florida, saying he had begun a process known as trusteeship. Local 385 represents costumed character-performers, truck drivers and other Walt Disney World workers.

Hoffa promised to send resources to help the local union right itself, writing “it is regrettable that circumstances have reached this point.”

Ralph Singer, a Disney World truck driver, said union members were “ecstatic” about the trusteeship.

“Enough people complained, and they made a great decision,” Singer said. “Hopefully, they will clean house.”

Teamsters spokeswoman Kara Deniz said an election will be held within 18 months so members can choose new leaders.

Separately, investigators with another, independent Teamsters office have said in court filings that they are scrutinizing allegations that Local 385′s leaders created false records and committed embezzlement and obstruction. No charges have been filed.

Clay Jeffries, Local 385′s president, didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.

The 9,000 members of Local 385 have key roles in central Florida’s tourism and transportation industries. About half are Disney workers; the rest include UPS drivers, hotel employees, food service workers, rental car employees and other drivers across 20 Florida counties.

The costumed character-performers have been Teamsters members since the early 1980s. But nearly two-thirds of the 1,000 performers at Disney World signed a petition to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters earlier this year, threatening to leave.

Among the complaints was that Local 385 leaders made a deal with Disney World officials to cut out 20 or so workers from being covered by the union. Union members also said Local 385 leaders had been unresponsive to grievances by members seeking help against the companies they worked for.

In March, Hoffa ordered a hearing in Orlando where union members were able to voice their complaints to leaders with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

In his letter on Monday, Hoffa noted that the local union had lost more than 500 members since 2017 and that the hundreds of Disney workers were threatening to leave. Hoffa said he had asked Local 385′s leaders to respond to the allegations but they never responded.

A Disney spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Today’s Top Stories

AP

supreme court pictured, its new term has started and will hear new cases...
The Associated Press

Supreme Court’s top cases for new term, new Justice Jackson

Already the Supreme Court has said it will decide cases on a range of major issues including affirmative action, voting rights and the rights of LGBTQ people.
1 day ago
TikTok shown on a phone. TikTok is proving influential in poliitics...
DAVID KLEPPER Associated Press

TikTok politics: Candidates turn to it ‘for better or worse’

TikTok isn't just about viral dance challenges anymore, but also a place to shop, learn about beauty, fashion or even politics.
4 days ago
Damage from Hurricane Ian...
ADRIANA GOMEZ-LICON Associated Press

Ian returns to hurricane status, meanwhile floods trap many in Florida

Hours after weakening to a tropical depression while crossing the Florida peninsula, Ian regained hurricane strength Thursday evening after emerging over the Atlantic Ocean.
5 days ago
An uprooted tree, toppled by strong winds from the outer bands of Hurricane Ian, rests in a parking...
CURT ANDERSON Associated Press

Ian makes landfall in southwest Florida as Category 4 storm

About 2.5 million people had been ordered to evacuate the area before the storm hit the coast on Wednesday with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph (241 kph).
6 days ago
The White House to ask for less money to fund border wall...
ACACIA CORONADO and GISELA SALOMON Associated Press

Increase in Venezuelan migration is felt across US

Last month, Venezuelans surpassed Guatemalans and Hondurans to become the second-largest nationality stopped at the U.S. border after Mexicans.
8 days ago
In Iran, protests have led to violent clashes between citizens and security forces. Protesters pict...
The Associated Press

At least 9 killed as Iran protests over woman’s death spread

The scope of Iran's ongoing unrest, the worst in several years, still remains unclear as protesters in more than a dozen cities.
11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Mouse that roared: Disney characters win local union shakeup