Disney Employees Protest Iger’s Demand to Return To Office Four Days a Week


While most of the world has been expected to return to their workplace after the pandemic, and many other jobs required employees to work in person the entire pandemic, Disney employees are protesting the demand that they return to office four days a week. According to the Washington Post, Disney employees are signing a petition asking Disney CEO Bob Iger to not require them to return to office.

A petition is being signed by employees not wanting to return to the office four days a week. It claims that the mandate will hurt the company saying it’s “likely to have unintended consequences that cause long-term harm to the company.” The Washington Post discusses how the petition goes on to say “forced resignations among some of our most hard-to-replace talent and vulnerable communities” while “dramatically reducing productivity, output, and efficiency.”

These people are likely in the positions that got to continue working during the pandemic while theme park Cast Members were forced to take a lay-off or furlough. The lucky ones who got to return had to go back full in-person work over two years ago, but I digress.

How many employees are signing the petition?

According to the article more than 2,300 of the 200,000 person workforce, including those working at ABC, Marvel Studios, Pixar, Hulu, 20th Century Studios and FX, have signed the petition asking to not return to work four days a week.

This is very small percentage of the overall Disney workforce.
Personally, if Bob Iger is calling these people back in after discussing how the company needs to be more productive with less, it makes me wonder if he thinks that the employees aren’t doing the amount of work he feels they would do in office.
After the 2022 Q4 earnings call, Bob Chapek had indicated that they were requiring more authorization from employees including approval for travel to conventions and meetings. Chapek claimed that internally their SG&A costs needed to be reduced. Even mentioning that any meetings that could be done via a tool like Zoom should be.
With the 2023 Q1 earnings call CEO Bob Iger and CFO Christine McCarthy, laid out  the $5.5 billion in cuts the company plans on making to increase efficiency, productivity and profitability.  If employees are in office, Disney can keep a watchful eye on employees to make sure they are getting what the mouse pays for.
Iger was likely well aware of the push-back he would receive for this mandate, yet he still issued it and he did so before the announcement of layoffs. This tells me that they either want to use this mandate to decide who to cut (after announcing 7,000 job cuts) or they want to push productivity and feel this is warranted to do that.  Either way the impression given is that Disney and Iger don’t feel that working from home is meeting the comapany’s needs.
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