Disney heiress details Disneyland’s deplorable working conditions
Abigail Disney—the granddaughter of Roy O. Disney, co-founder of the famous entertainment company—is speaking out against the poor working conditions facing the employees of her family’s corporation. Life at Disney, she says, is hardly a heartening fairy-tale.
The heiress made the trip to visit Disneyland and interview workers after hearing reports of its employees struggles. One such report came in the form of a stunning 2017 study by Occidental College, surveying 17,000 Disneyland workers.
The study found three-fourths of all workers were unable to pay all their bills—10% had recently been homeless. Moreover, two-thirds described that they could not afford three meals each day.
“I spoke with workers at their union headquarters, off property, and just sat with them. All I wanted was for them to look me in the eye and tell me what was going on” Disney explained, speaking on Democracynow. “I wanted to really hear the whole story myself.”
According to Disney, the people she met and spoke with confirmed her fears.
One diabetic employee described to the heiress her growing insecurity. Working 9-10 hours a day, her wage had not risen in two years. Her department had lost more than 50 men and women, abandoning her to a higher workload. Although she emphasized she loved the company, she is left hardly able to afford her insulin.
Abigail Disney’s complaints first came in the form of an op-ed in The Washington Post. Using The Walt Disney Company as a case study, she took issue with the fast-growing disparity between boss and worker.
“[The company’s CEO, Robert Iger,] took home more than $65 million in 2018. That’s 1,424 times the median pay of a Disney worker,” writes Disney.
“To put that gap in context, in 1978, the average CEO made about 30 times a typical worker’s salary. Since 1978, CEO pay has grown by 937 percent, while the pay of an average worker grew just 11.2 percent.”
The company has rebuked Disney’s comments in a widely circulated response. Representatives for the organization said the picture she has been painting is “a gross and unfair exaggeration of the facts that is not only a misrepresentation, but also an insult to the thousands of employees who are part of the Disney community.”
The company cited its $15 an hour minimum wage, an average salary of roughly $46,000, and a college fund worth $140 million.
“I don’t care how many times they say all of those things,” responded Disney, going on to reference the tens of millions projected for the CEO’s salary.
“Just look at the contrast between $140 million and $46,000. We know that a living wage in Anaheim is more like $24. So when they, after years of fighting tooth and nail, went to the $15 minimum—and it was only just this year—they raised it to a minimum that still wasn’t a living wage.”
As one of the more socially active members of the Disney family, she has taken up similar causes before. She has spoken before Congress on the issue of wealth inequality and has advocated for a variety of measures including higher corporate and estate taxes.
“Reward all of your workers fairly. Don’t turn away when they tell you they are unable to make ends meet. You do not exist merely for the benefit of shareholders and managers … respect the dignity of the men and women who work just as hard as you do to make Disney the amazing company it is,” Disney concluded in her op-ed, reaching out directly to her great-grandfather’s company.
One of Canada’s largest oil companies, Encana Corp., has announced its plans to move its headquarters to the U.S. and drop links to Canada from its name, rebranding as Ovintiv Inc.
According to the Financial Post, this latest announcement will surely intensify uncertainty surrounding Canada’s energy sector, which has been “choked off [of] prospects for growth, prompting foreign companies to ditch more than US$30 billion of assets in the past three years.”
In a conference call, CEO Doug Suttles said that he does not believe that the move to the U.S. will impact the Canadian workforce, as the company will continue to do business in Canada.
Following the announcement, shares of the company fell as low as 9.2 percent in Toronto.
Sonya Savage, the Minster of Energy for Alberta, says she’s “troubled” by Encana’s decision to relocate to the U.S., but “cannot say [she’s] surprised” by the move or that they waited until after the federal election to make the announcement.
Savage says that the company has been progressively shifting its efforts towards the U.S. in large part due to harmful climate policies which make it more difficult for oil companies to operate in Canada. She says that she hopes that this company’s decision to leave the country for greener pastures in the U.S. serves as a wake-up call for politicians in Ottawa.
Indeed, few are shocked by the decision, and many have justified it as entirely logical after Texan Doug Suttles took over as Chief Executive Officer for the company in 2013. Upon acquiring the position, Suttles aggressively began selling Canadian assets and building up the company’s position in the U.S. by purchasing Permian driller Athlon Energy and Freeport-McMoRan Inc.’s Eagle Ford shale assets.
Last December, Suttles relocated to Denver and announced that the company would be “headquarterless”, a move indicative of his determination to distance himself from the toxic Canadian climate besieging the energy sector in the country.
“A domicile in the United States will expose our company to increasingly larger pools of investment in U.S. index funds and passively managed accounts, as well as better align us with our U.S. peers,” Suttles said in a statement Thursday.
The United States Pentagon has just released air footage of the United States’ raid on an ISIS compound where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was found and later died.
In a press conference, Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., commander of U.S. Central Command, gave an overview of the special operations forces raid on the compound that took place October 26, 2019.
Baghdadi was confirmed dead during the raid, along with five ISIS members. It was originally believed that Baghdadi dragged three children with him down one of the compound’s tunnels, as he fled from U.S. forces. This was found to be incorrect, with only two children being found dead along with the ISIS leader.
“He crawled into a hole with two small children and blew himself up while his people stayed on the ground,” McKenzie Jr. said.
Another eleven children were found in the compound, all of whom were safely rescued and transferred following the raid.
Business sentiment in the United States, Canada’s largest trading partner, has hit the lowest level in more than two years as executives continue to feel cautious about the economic situation in Canada.
According to a survey by Nanos Research for the American Chamber of Commerce, initially reported on by Bloomberg, senior executives of American firms with Canadian subsidiaries are anxious about a weakening sales picture in Canada since the end of last year, alongside an overall worsening economy.
The overall results follow alongside the strain in global growth which has largely been caused due to the chaos created through the trade dispute between China and the United States as well as the Brexit.
In the United States, recent results have shown that business hiring has dropped to a seven-year low.
While American business sentiments towards Canada have dropped enormously, the net remains positive.
“The best way to summarize how CEOs of American enterprises in Canada feel is that everything is OK—their enterprises are OK—but there is some anxiety about the future strength of the Canadian economy,” Nanos said.
The survey was conducted between August 6 and October 8, before the recent Canadian election.
While American sentiments have dropped, a new poll published by the Bank of Canada shows that Canadian businesses have shown an uptick in business sentiment, although that appears concentrated in the East and B.C., largely missing the Prairies.
As both countries continue to awkwardly move forward, there appears to be at least some light at the end of the tunnel. Nearly a full year has passed since Canada, the US, and Mexico signed the replacement deal to NAFTA, and the United States appears prepared to pass the deal through Congress by November.
United States President Donald Trump has just confirmed during a White House press statement that Baghdadi died from a suicide vest detonation, taking the lives of three children with him.
“Last night, the United States brought the world’s number one terrorist leader to justice,” Trump began. “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead. He was the founder and leader of ISIS, the most ruthless and violent terror organization anywhere in the world.”
“The United States has been searching for Baghdadi for many years. Capturing or killing Baghdadi has been the top national security priority of my administration,” Trump continued.
“U.S. Special Operations Forces executed a dangerous and daring nighttime raid in Northwestern Syria and accomplished their mission in grand style. The U.S. personnel were incredible — I got to watch much of it.
“No personnel were lost in the operation, while a large number of Baghdadi’s fighters and companions were killed with him,” Trump said.
Trump goes on to describe the manner in which Baghdadi died, saying, “He died after running into a dead end tunnel, whimpering, and crying and screaming all the way.”
Trump says the compound had been cleared by this time, with many either surrendering or being shot and killed.
U.S. forces managed to rescue eleven young children from the compound, moving them out of the house as they conducted their raid. None of these children were injured during the operation.
“The only ones remaining,” Trump continued, “were Baghdadi in the tunnel, and he had dragged three of his young children with him. They were led to certain death.
“He reached the end of the tunnel as our dogs chased him down,” Trump said. “He ignited his vest, killing himself and the three children.”
Trump says that the blast, which caused the tunnel to cave in, mutilated Baghdadi, but that test results gave positive confirmation that the body at the end of the tunnel was Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS.
“The thug who tried so hard to intimidate others spent his last moments in utter fear, in total panic and dread, terrified of the American forces bearing down on him,” Trump said.
Trump says the entire operation took roughly two hours and that American forces were able to retrieve “highly sensitive” information from the compound related to ISIS, both their origins and their future plans of terrorism.
“Baghdadi’s demise demonstrates America’s relentless pursuit of terrorist leaders, and our commitment to the enduring and total defeat of ISIS and other terrorist organizations,” Trump said. “Our reach is very long.”
Trump also mentioned the U.S. successful killing of Al-Qaeda’s heir apparent Hamza bin Laden only last month. He says that terrorists should never sleep soundly knowing that the U.S. will completely destroy them.
“These savage monsters will not escaped their fate and they will not escape the final judgement of God,” Trump said.
“Today’s events are another reminder that we will continue to pursue the remaining ISIS terrorists to their brutal end. That also goes for other terrorist organizations,” Trump said. “They are likewise in our sights.
“Baghdadi and the losers who worked for him — and losers they are — they had no idea what they were getting into. In some cases, they were very frightened puppies; in other cases, they were hardcore killers.”
Trump then honoured the American lives lost in the U.S. campaign against ISIS, and detailed some of the horrendous acts of ISIS against U.S. troops and others in the Middle East.
Trump concluded his speech by thanking the other nations which aided the U.S. in decimating ISIS, including Russia, Syria, Turkey, and Iraq, as well as the Syrian Kurds.
“[Baghdadi] died like a dog. He died like a coward. The world is now a much safer place,” Trump said. “God bless America.”