Bob Iger Promotes Cast Members’ “Greatest Champion”, Promising Better Treatment

protesting cast members and sonia coleman

Central Florida residents, Walt Disney Company stockholders, and Disney Fanatics are already familiar with the as-yet unsuccessful wage negotiations between the Walt Disney World Resort Cast Members’ union and their employer.

Many Cast Members have shared their struggles with poverty on social media — and in protests — making it clear that they are struggling to afford basic necessities like food, shelter, and medication due to low Disney wages.

Cast Member Strike

Walt Disney World employees during a recent Central Florida protest regarding their pay. The Disney employees in theme parks like the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, and Hollywood Studios are often known as Cast Members. Credit: Local Orlando Union

Disney CEO Bob Iger has exacerbated the tension in these negotiations — which, so far, have not gone well for Cast Members — by repeatedly praising Disney employees for their hard work on social media (and quickly receiving a lot of negative feedback on said social media posts).

Bob Iger

Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger. Credit: CNBC

Now, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger has just announced the promotion of Human Resources executive Sonia Coleman to Senior EVP and Chief Human Resources Officer, referring to her as “a gifted leader and strong advocate for our employees” — but will Disney’s new HR leader truly become Cast Members’ “greatest champion”?

sonia coleman with disney logo

Credit: Disney

Sonia Coleman is coming from Disney Entertainment and ESPN to replace Paul Richardson, who is leaving after 15 years at Disney (whether or not his exit is a voluntary one is unclear).

In her own words, Coleman declared that “Disney is unrivaled because of the talent, dedication, and enthusiasm of our cast members and employees. They are the key to our success, and I look forward to being their greatest champion.”

Coleman also mentioned “the important company-wide transformation underway that will truly empower the people behind the magic of Disney.” Time will tell whether or not Coleman’s new role leads to any gains for Cast Members, particularly when it comes to wages!

Have you been following the conflict between the Cast Members’ union and the Walt Disney Company? Do you think that Coleman’s promotion — and its timing — is an intentional and strategic effort to fight back against the onslaught of bad publicity assaulting Disney’s reputation?

About Sharon

Sharon is a writer and animal lover from New England. Sharon's two main focuses in her work are Disney's correlations with pop culture and the significance of Disney princesses (which was the basis for her college thesis). When she's not writing about Disney, Sharon spends her time singing, dancing, and cavorting with woodland creatures!

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