Disney World to furlough 43,000 workers due to coronavirus pandemic

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Walt Disney World plans to stop paying wages to 43,000 workers in about a week while allowing them to keep their benefits for up to a year in what is the largest wave of furloughs since the theme park resort closed in mid-March because of the new coronavirus spread.

Workers will be able to keep their medical, dental and life insurance benefits for the length of the furlough period, or up to a year.

Seniority and wage rates will remain unchanged for the workers whose furloughs start April 19, according to a statement from the Service Trades Council, the coalition of unions representing the Disney World workers.

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“The union agreement provides stronger protections and benefits for 43,000 union workers at Disney than virtually any other furloughed or laid-off workers in the United States,” the union said in a statement to members.

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About 200 workers will remain on the job performing “essential duties” during the closure, and they will be offered positions based on seniority, the union said.

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The agreement with the Service Trades Council marked the largest group of workers at Disney World to come to terms on furloughs with the company during the new coronavirus outbreak.

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