Disneyland Workers Break Off

Times Staff Writer

Unhappy with their union leadership, about 3,500 food-service workers at Disneyland and California Adventure have voted to split from their local and form a new one.

The vote comes after allegations of a tainted election and a two-year struggle for power within the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local 681, which had about 7,000 members in Orange County and Long Beach.

Disneyland Resort employees, who worked at the parks as cart vendors and in the restaurants, complained that union president Ada Torres had denied them access to financial records.


“Over the past two years, we’ve had absolutely no decent representation,” said Disneyland employee Sandi Ecklund, president of the newly formed Local 50.

Ecklund ran for president against Torres in June. She says she won, but that 400 votes, mostly from Disneyland and California Adventure workers, were invalidated. Ecklund has appealed the results.

Torres could not be reached for comment.

Rather than waiting for the result of the appeal, members launched a petition drive to decertify the union. They gathered about 1,400 signatures but decided instead to start their own local under the auspices of Unite Here, which was formed during the summer when the hotel employee union merged with the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees.

About 1,000 park workers approved the proposal last week.