Tip Sheets

Disney walkouts a lesson in corporate responsibility

Media Contact

Lindsey Knewstub

In response to Disney’s handling of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, employees have been participating in daily walkouts with a planned full-day walkout for Tuesday.

Patricia Campos-Medina, executive director of the Worker Institute at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, says labor actions like the Disney walkouts are effective because they shine a light on the failures of corporate America to lead on critical issues – like the opposition of discrimination against LGBTQ+ community.

Patricia Campos-Medina

Executive director of the Worker Institute

“Worker actions are effective in changing corporate behavior because it highlights the failures of corporate America to lead on critical issues like the opposition of discrimination under the law as exemplified by ‘Don't Say Gay’ bill in Florida.

“The walk outs at Disney demonstrate that workers and unions understand their responsibility to protect workers goes beyond wages and working conditions. It expands to the protection and the safety of their LGTBQ+ members and their families in the communities where they live. 

“The ‘Don't Say Gay’ bill is not just identity politics. It changes employment dynamics because it codifies discrimination against LGBTQ+ community in the public sphere. Corporations like Disney that built their brand on the idea of inclusion must now demonstrate its corporate responsibility by stating in public its position on laws that excludes and discriminates an entire community.

“The crisis of inequality, made worse by the intersecting crisis of the pandemic and its impact on women, people of color and the LGBTQ+ community, has emboldened workers to demand more from their elected leaders and their employers. By striking and organizing into unions or engaging in work-stoppages – like the Disney union workers are doing – workers are demanding corporations share in the responsibility to invest in staff and in their communities. Corporate responsibility should not just be about your responsibility to your shareholders, but to the workers that you employ and to the global community that builds shareholders profits and wealth.”

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