Disney cast member union calls on Gov. DeSantis to allow theme park workers to be vaccinated


  • Photo courtesy Unite Here Local 362/Facebook
Unite Here Local 362, a union representing Disney employees and other hospitality workers, has called on Gov. Ron DeSantis to expand vaccine eligibility requirements in Florida to include frontline Disney cast members, theme park employees and hospitality workers.

Asserting that "tourism workers are essential" (and you won't get any argument from us on that point), Unite Here calls for expansion of vaccine access to all hospitality workers in Central Florida, regardless of county. And surely, this would be a logical and pragmatic move for a governor focused on keeping Florida's economy open and on the move?

"Governor DeSantis and has said over and over that tourism is essential to the economy of Florida. We agree. But we also believe that Hospitality workers who perform the work that makes tourism a reality are also essential," reads a statement from the union. "The very least that the State of Florida could do is expand vaccine eligibility to hospitality workers."

Jake Knappenberger, a union member and attractions coordinator at Disney's Hollywood Studios, echoed the call from union leadership: "I'm proud that we reopened Walt Disney World safely and getting us theme park workers vaccinated is the next step to keep us, our families, and our guests safe. Governor DeSantis, it's time we get 'Our Shot.'"

Theme park employees returned to work. last summer amid high COVID-19 numbers in Orange County, often harassed and even spat on for being put in the unenviable position of having to enforce mask mandates at their workplace. (Check out recent Sentinel reporting on that front.) With the summer travel season right around the corner, this is a pressing health and safety issue that demands attention from state leadership beyond lip service.

Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly newsletters, and consider supporting this free publication. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you Central Florida news, and every little bit helps.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.