The Walt Disney Company Will Require Non-Union And Salaried U.S. Employees To Be Vaccinated

As the Delta variant of the coronavirus continues to impact the United States, The Walt Disney Company is taking a big step to make sure many of its workers are protected. The company has announced that vaccines will be required for salaried and non-union hourly employees working on any of the company's sites in the United States, and employees have sixty days to get fully vaccinated. Disney has joined companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Uber in implementing some form of vaccine mandate for its workers.

It's unclear exactly what percentage of Disney employees in the United States are represented by unions, and therefore will not have to comply with this new mandate. (For some perspective, though, Disney reportedly had a total of 203,000 employees worldwide last fall, and the Service Trade Council Union represents several union groups that comprise around 43,000 Disney workers.) Of course, everyone should get the Covid vaccine for a whole host of reasons — the most prominent of which is that it has and will continue to save countless lives. But unions have lots of power, and they could theoretically argue that implementing a vaccine mandate infringes on the rights of its members.

I do not personally support that mentality, I'm just trying to point out why the language of this announcement specifically said this applies to non-union employees. As you can read in Disney's full statement below, conversations have begun with unions about this topic, but no deals have been reached yet.

One of the company's biggest theme parks, Walt Disney World, is located in Florida, where the Orange County mayor declared a state of emergency this week due to rapidly rising cases of COVID-19. Plans and protocols are reportedly being developed for Disney employees outside of the United States.

Read the Full Announcement

Here is the company's official statement, courtesy of Deadline:

At The Walt Disney Company, the safety and well-being of our employees during the pandemic has been and continues to be a top priority. Toward that end, and based on the latest recommendations of scientists, health officials and our own medical professionals that the COVID-19 vaccine provides the best protection against severe infection, we are requiring that all salaried and non-union hourly employees in the U.S. working at any of our sites be fully vaccinated.

Employees who aren't already vaccinated and are working on-site will have 60 days from today to complete their protocols and any employees still working from home will need to provide verification of vaccination prior to their return, with certain limited exceptions. We have also begun conversations around this topic with the unions representing our employees under collective bargaining agreements. In addition, all new hires will be required to be fully vaccinated before beginning employment. Vaccines are the best tool we all have to help control this global pandemic and protect our employees.

We will continue to update this piece as the story develops.