Caravan of furloughed tourism workers call for unemployment assistance

Father José Rodriguez blessed a caravan of workers from Florida’s tourism industry, many of them Disney workers like Connell Daniel, a pastry chef who worked in the park for 24 years.

“The system is broken and needs to be fixed. If people don't come out and voice their opinion, nothing's gonna happen, so,” Daniel said.

Daniel and dozens of others formed a caravan across the Orlando metro area calling on the state for more help.

“We're sending an SOS to the Governor DeSantis, especially, and all authorities in Florida to act right now, to do something to fix the unemployment system because workers can't wait anymore,” said Wesny Theophin, a furloughed Disney worker.

Disney furloughed more than 40,000 workers on Sunday.

The workers said they didn’t want the parks reopened amid the coronavirus crisis, but they did need more assistance from the state, including a working unemployment system.

“Politicians need to step up and fix the system,” Daniel said.

Father Rodriguez said the demand at his church's food pantry had skyrocketed.

“It's telling me that checks aren't coming to families,” he said, “and families are struggling to make ends meet.”

Organizers said the caravan capped off a week of action, including nearly 1,500 letters sent to the governor and messages calling on state representatives and senators to fix Florida’s unemployment system.