Above ground, Disneyland is a world of wonder and enchantment. But getting the bedsheets as tight as the smiles on the workers faces takes a lot of hard work, and it happens underground.
Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez reports on how he’s been interviewing laundry workers at the Disneyland and Paradise Pier hotels in Anaheim. He’s learned that beneath the hotel is where the laundry room is. Hanging above the uniformed crews doing the laundry are large flat-screen monitors. The tvs track the workers productivity. Each worker and their name is listed and they’re ranked by who is loading pillow cases, sheets, and other laundry items into the machines.
While meticulously tracking productivity is common in the hotel industry, it can have some perverse effects too. For instance, workers avoid taking bathroom breaks because they’re afraid their productivity will go down. They refer to the monitors as an “electronic whip” and they respond to its steady and silent crack every day. It feels even sharper when you consider that they’ve been working without a contract for three years as a result of labor disputes, and they’re worried that the new contract will increase their health care costs.
“By Local 11’s math, when Walt Disney ran the company in 1966, he made 108 times as much as one of his hotel housekeepers. Bob Iger, the current chief executive, makes 781 times as much as a housekeeper,” writes Lopez. “After making $28 million in total compensation last year, Iger’s base pay was just increased 25%. I wonder if there’s an electronic whip in Iger’s office.”
Disneyland workers answer to ‘electronic whip’ [LAT] (Thanks to Simon!)