Thursday, April 30, 2015
The Walt Disney company has been accused of laying off employees, and contracting out their work to companies that hire foreign workers for a fraction of the cost.
Disney uses contractors to replace higher paid American workers, often with illegal immigrants, and has been doing so for over 20 years. The fact that they use contractors has enabled the company to have "plausible deniability" that the workers are illegal.
How do I know this? Two data points:
In 1996, I had a job working at Disney as a technician working on the robotic figures (animatronics) at the Magic Kingdom theme park in Orlando. we had a meeting one night between our department and management, and we were told that it was the company's goal to eliminate all permanent, full time positions in the park by the year 2010 and replace them with contractors. They claimed that the $90 million a year that the company was paying for health care benefits was too much.
One of my coworkers pointed out that Michael Eisner, then the CEO of the company, received $270 million in pay, benefits, and other perks the year before, and asked why didn't the company just cut HIS pay to "only" $180 million, and let the employees keep their benefits. The manager running the meeting then claimed that the meeting was over, as we were not going to discuss executive pay.
The second data point came in 2000. I was dating a woman from the Czech Republic by the name of Ivana Horakova. She had come to the US a year before on a tourist visa, and overstayed her visa. She was an illegal immigrant. She was working as a customer service representative for a contractor that provided staffing for hotels that were on and around Disney property. Since she spoke 5 languages, she was a great person to have at the front desk to greet customers. Her pay? She was being paid with a three bedroom apartment to share with 5 other girls, and $40 a week.
But it's the happiest place on Earth, right?