Disney union members stage at-home protests

(Courtesy: Disney Parks)

“S-O-S fix the broken unemployment website now” were the words spelled out in homemade signs in Hew Kowalewski’s front windows. 

Lacey Gamble used chalk to draw Disney characters to bring attention to her message. 

“Calling out for help, for someone to come and help us. Calling out for our governor. We need people to realize this is a pandemic. People can’t pay their bills with negative bank accounts. We can’t put food on the table with negative bank accounts," she said. "It’s overwhelming and it’s scary!”

Gamble and Kowalewski are members of Unite Here Central Florida, part of the Local 737 Union for Disney workers.  They are urging members to take part in a different activity each day until the last day Disney pays them. 

Monday’s activity was making signs.  Tuesday, they asked members to post videos on social media sharing what they’re scared about.  Wednesday’s assignment was to call their local state representatives. 

“We want them to know there’s people out there that need their money now so fix it now. Push those applications through now so they can get out of the negative and put food on their tables so when it comes to the next 43,500 people they’re not waiting 5 plus weeks for a check,” Gamble said. 

That 43,500 is the number of Disney employees who will be eligible to file for unemployment at the end of this month. 

“This sign is not coming down until I go back to work,” Kowalewski said.