43,000 Walt Disney World workers temporarily furloughed due to coronavirus pandemic

43,000 Walt Disney World workers temporarily furloughed due to coronavirus pandemic
FILE - In this Monday, March 16, 2020, file photo, the road to the entrance of Walt Disney World has few cars, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Two more unions have reached agreements with Walt Disney World over furloughs caused by the theme park resort's closure during the new coronavirus outbreak. The agreements reached late Friday, April 10, apply to security guards and workers involved in facilities and operations. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File) (John Raoux/AP)

BAY LAKE, Fla. — The Service Trades Council Union -- a council of six unions that represent 43,000 Walt Disney World workers -- said Saturday it has agreed to a temporary furlough beginning April 19.

The furlough was caused by the theme park resort’s indefinite closure amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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"This is a decision that the union doesn't like. However, it's within the company's right to lay off and furlough employees in this situation," said Eric Clinton, president of Unite Here Local 362.

Clinton said Disney has agreed to provide union members who have health care benefits with free health care for 12 months.

He said workers will be immediately eligible to apply for state unemployment benefits.

In addition to the health insurance benefits coverage, educational support and other employee assistance programs will continue during the furlough.

Fewer than 200 workers are considered essential and will remain on the job.