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Cafeteria Jobs Loom as Issue for Disneyland : Labor: The union says 100 members could lose work to subcontractors. Management concedes that bids have been sought.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The union that represents more than 700 food service workers at Disneyland, signaling acrimonious labor negotiations ahead, has mounted a campaign against what it says are company plans to subcontract out work.

Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union Local 681 has sent letters of appeal to state officials and distributed leaflets at the park, saying Disneyland has decided to farm out service work in the employees’ cafeteria. Such a move, the union says, would cost its members 100 jobs.

“Disney management is on an aggressive campaign to subcontract good union jobs,” states the letter, signed by more than 200 union members and sent to Gov. Pete Wilson and others. “The net effect will be to turn good jobs, with full health benefits, into minimum-wage, part-time and temporary employment.”

Disneyland spokesman John McClintock said that there has been no decision on subcontracting, though he confirmed that the company has asked for bids from food service operators. “I don’t expect it will happen at all in the near term,” he said.

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Some food vendors, though, said their understanding was that the work at Disneyland would begin soon.

Stephen Gambrell, director of marketing and sales at the Los Angeles office of Canteen Corp., said his firm put in a bid earlier this summer. “We expected to hear by now,” he said. He would not reveal the value of the contract, but said: “Believe me, it would be great.”

The union maintains that Disneyland is weighing the “outsourcing” plan as a way of reducing labor costs significantly. Most union food service employees of the park make between $9.15 and $11.05 an hour and some earn as much as $15 an hour, said Angela Keefe, president of Local 681, which is based in Santa Ana.

Disneyland’s McClintock would say only that “we’re always looking at ways to make business more efficient.”

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Some union members also say that part of Disneyland’s motivation is to reduce the risk of running afoul of immigration laws. If food services went to subcontractors, then they, not Disneyland, would be responsible for the hiring. In April, Disneyland agreed to pay $260,000 to settle allegations of poor record-keeping that violated federal laws about hiring immigrants.


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