(en)DISNEY ALERT #2

Lyn and Shawn (linjin@tao.ca)
Thu, 3 Jul 1997 00:52:04 pst


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Labor Alerts/Labor News a service of Campaign for Labor Rights 1247 "E" Street SE, Washington, DC 20003 clr@igc.apc.org (541) 344-5410 http://www.compugraph.com/clr

DISNEY ALERT #2:

[The information for this alert was provided on June 11, 1997 by the National Labor Committee, 275 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10001, Phone: 212-242-3002, Fax: 212-242-3821.]

UPDATE: PRESSURE ON DISNEY SWEATSHOPS CONTINUES TO BUILD

. Congressman Bernie Sanders goes after Disney and endorses October 4, 1997

. The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) - representing 124 million workers in 137 countries - is challenging UNESCO's Joint sponsorship with Disney of a Children's Summit, a PR bonanza for Disney. The ICFTU is urging UNESCO not be used as a cover for Disney's dismal record on sweatship violations and abuse of worker rights.

. Disney continues to stagger under an avalanche of children's letters - serious, concerned, spirited kids who want real answers from Disney regarding human rights and a living wage.

MEANWHILE, DISNEY TURNS ITS GREED ON U.S. PEOPLE Massive Tax breaks, Exorbitant Spending on Lobbying and Executive Compensation, Now Disney Moves Against Its Own Employees

Disney has just cheated the U.S. people out of $600 million in taxes When Disney recently sold four newspapers for $1.65 billion, it avoided all capital gains tax through a series of moves including a "stock swap" deal which the U.S. Treasure Department calls "tax evasion." Disney skips out on $600 million taxes while the average middle class person pays 33 percent f his or her salary in taxes -- around $13,000 on an income of $40,000.

Now Disney/ABC and the other major networks have grabbed new space on the public airwaves for their digital TV transmissions for free. It should have cost upwards of $15 billion dollars. Common Cause referred to this as the "corporate welfare program to end all corporate welfare programs." Then Disney/ABC turns around and refuses to give free air time for political campaigns.

Disney even took a $300,000 grant from the Department of Energy to create "brighter fireworks."

How does the system work? A lot of money greases the way. In the 1995-96 electoral season, Disney/ABC gave a total of $763,000 to the two political parties. In the first six months of 1996, Disney/ABC spent $560,000 lobbying Congress.

Meanwhile, Michael Eisner's $8.7 million 1996 salary, combines with $181 million in stock options -- referred to by the New York Times as the "largest single grant in corporate history"--brought his total compensation to over $189.7 million -- $101,000 an hour!

It would take a Haitian worker sewing Disney garments 156 years to earn what Michael Eisner earned in one hour!

Now the whole scheme comes full circle. Disney/ABC is now going after its own employees, 2,700 NABET/CWA union members at ABC, in an effort to drastically increase the number of temporary workers, or day hires, while downsizing full-time union jobs that pay a decent wage.

Like a few other multinationals--perhaps in a league with a few companies like Wal-Mart--Disney represents and is shaping what the U>S> is becoming. These companies get away with murder. In the end, Disney's power, manipulation and arrogance symbolize why so many people cannot believe in the system.

Could Disney Afford to Do the Right Thing? You decide!

. Disney reported a record 63% increase on its first quarter profits

. Disney TV stations reach one out of every four households in the U.S.

. One out of every four movie tickets sold in the U.S. is for a Disney film or for a film distributed by Disney

. Disney radio stations reach 123 million people a week

Disney Can Parade But It Cannot Hide

As Disney orchestrates its massive P.R. blitz with a million-dollar parade in New York City on June 14th, hundreds of thousands of people will see the truth by looking up in the sky as a plane circles New York with the facts: "Disney uses sweatshops in Haiti - 28 cents per hour."

National Day of Conscience to End Sweatshop Abuses - October 4th

Keep on the lookout for this exciting new campaign. You will receive more details, including campaign packs, very soon. In the meantime, if you have any questions or great ideas, pleass call!

Childrens's Summit: The ICFTU Denounces the Practices of Walt Disney's Subcontractors

Brussels, 9 June 1997: Young girls of 17 forced to work 9 to 10 hours a day for less than 0.2 French francs an hour in a Vietnamese factory producing toys in the shape of Walt Disney characters for McDonalds, subcontractors producing "Mickey Mouse" and "Pocahontas" pyjamas for Disney and paying their workers less than the minimum wage of Ffr 1 in Haiti; one subcontractor using extremely young workers in Indonesia and paying them less than the minimum wage, workers in China forces to work for 12 hours at a stretch to manufacture products bearing the image of the "101 Dalmations", and having to live 16 to a room...And the list goes on.

These are accusations levelled at Disney by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions in a letter sent to the director-general of UNESCO, Mr. Federico Mayor, as the Children's Summit jointly organized by UNESCO and the American company opens in Paris.

"The Children's Summit, the children who have been invited themselves, and UNESCO's goodwill shold not serve to conceal the exploitation of these workers, many of whom are young women," warns the ICFTU.

The ICFTU reiterates that together with its member organization in the United States, the AFL-CIO, and the ITGLWF (International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation), it is making representations vis-a-vis Disney with a view to getting the company to change these conditions about which the parent company has been amply informed.

The ICTFU is calling upon UNESCO to make use of its contacts with the company and offer its good offices with a view to helping to put right "an untenable situation".

"Given that the wages paid to these workers are insufficient to maintain a family at subsistence level and fulfill their children's basic needs, such as education, the UNESCO representatives in the above mentioned countries could look into the facts and consult the governments of the countries in question" the ICFTU concludes, while at the same time indicating its desire to be able to meet with the director general of UNESCO to discuss the issue with him.

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