UPDATE: 07/09/20: Representatives of Actors' Equity Association issued a statement today claiming that Walt Disney World is retaliating against its members and has locked them out after the two parties couldn't agree on conditions for returning to work.
Mary McMcColl, executive director for Equity, said in a statement:
Since our public request that Disney test performers in the park, there have been more than 114,000 new coronavirus cases in Florida. Rather than agree to testing of performers, Disney has decided to retaliate against workers fighting for a safe workplace during this pandemic.
A Disney spokesperson, responding to an email from Deadline, commented:
Seven unions signed agreements to have their employees return to work, the Actors' Equity rejected our safety protocols and have not made themselves available to continue negotiations, which is unfortunate. We are exercising our right to open without Equity performers.
UPDATE 07/01/20: The executive committee for the Actors' Equity Association has unanimously voted to reject the safety plan that Walt Disney World has put in place for Cast Members because it doesn't include coronavirus testing for performers.
An email obtained by Deadline to Equity members addressed the testing:
"Disney knows that testing makes for a safer work place. Why else would Disney agree to testing for film productions? If testing helps keep a film set safe, that is also true for performers in the parks. Despite that, we have not reached an agreement with Disney for testing."
Disney has not commented on the vote.
We reported yesterday regarding the statement sent to Walt Disney World by Actors' Equity requesting that Disney provide COVID-19 testing for its cast members, along with considering a delay in reopening.
According to Orlando's WFTV, Disney has issued a statement in response to Actors' Equity Association's requests. The statement is below:
“As we reopen our theme parks, we would like to include live stage shows. We have heard from many cast members that they are eager to return; however, the Actors’ Equity Association has not agreed to the terms of the recall impacting our ability to invite these cast members back at this time. The health and well-being of our cast members and guests is an important priority for us, and our theme park reopening plan has been approved by county and state officials.”
Disney has not indicated that there will be an adjustment to the reopening of Walt Disney World, which, as they point out in their response, has been approved by the proper officials. Disney also states the desire for live stage shows to be one of the elements brought back to the theme parks upon reopening.
President of the Actors’ Equity Association, Kate Shindle, had this to say regarding the over 700 Walt Disney World cast members that the association represents, “I would actually say most of our people are eager to get back to work...They’re not all being called back right away, but we have to get this right, hopefully before anybody goes back.”