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Theater Thursday: Pumbaa and Other Cast Members Have Hakuna Matata

Earlier this week an arbitrator ordered that three performers who wore character costumes in the "Festival of the Lion King" at Disney's Animal Kingdom be reinstated after they were terminated in June 2014 for complaining about the unsanitary conditions of the costumes. The performers claimed they were terminated without just cause in violation of the collective bargaining agreement. The decision discussed the storage and cleanliness of these spandex costumes and relied upon testimony that the costumes were often wet, noting that when a performer "went to grab his unitards for the next show, all the Warthog unitards, including in his size, were wet." Because the contract required that all costumes be "clean and dry" the arbitrator found that the grievants were not required to wear uniforms that were not clean and dry and should not have been "blamed and punished because clean unitards were not given or available to them prior to their performance." The three grievants who performed were reinstated and provided back pay, benefits, and seniority.

Topics: Arbitration, Collective Bargaining Agreement