- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 29, 2002

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) Dozens of workers picketed two hotels at Walt Disney World yesterday in a rare labor dispute for the Orlando area's tourism industry.
The union representing housekeepers, laundry workers, seamstresses and public-area attendants at Walt Disney World's Swan and Dolphin hotels declared a strike.
But Treva Marshall, a spokeswoman for the hotels, said all employees scheduled to work had crossed the picket line and showed up for their shifts, and service was not disrupted.
Last week, the workers rejected for a second time a three-year contract covering 400 of the hotels' 2,000 workers. Management said it would put the contract into effect unilaterally.
Although the hotels are on Disney property, they are owned by Tishman Hotel Corp. and managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.
They account for 2,267 of Orlando's 108,000 hotel rooms.
Union leaders said they understood many workers could not afford to walk out and would not hold it against them for crossing the picket lines.
Workers wanted a guaranteed 40-hour workweek and job assignments based on seniority.
Strikes in Orlando's tourism industry are rare. Labor leaders could recall two in the past decade: a strike by musicians at Walt Disney World and one by hotel workers at the Grosvenor Resort nearby.
Hundreds of hotel workers were laid off last year during the tourism slowdown that was blamed in large part on the September 11 terror attacks.


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