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October 25, 2001
Disney Asks Salaried Workers to Cut Hours
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usands of salaried workers at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., were asked Monday to cut their workweek to 32 hours, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Disney also reduced the hours of some attractions and restaurants and fired an unspecified number of contract workers.

They're the latest cost-cutting moves by a tourist attraction hard-hit by the Sept. 11 terrorism and the resulting falloff in air travel.

The company's 7,000 higher-paid employees, who would see 20 percent cuts in their paychecks, are being asked to join the ranks of the attraction's 40,000 hourly workers, who have seen their work schedules sharply reduced, according to the Sentinel.

Disney spokeswoman Marilyn Waters said the reduced workweek was a way to "save some jobs" and that employees would be able to keep insurance and retirement benefits.

Waters said the voluntary work reductions were "an opportunity" to employees "because some people would like to do that for lifestyle reasons."

However, she said, if there weren't enough takers it would not automatically mean that some jobs would be abolished.

But that possibility was clearly implied. About 1,000 salaried Disney World workers were laid off before Sept. 11. They were caught up in cutbacks that included Disneyland in California.

The Monday offer of voluntary reductions was made only to Orlando-area workers, an indication that Disney World has been harder hit than Disneyland by the fallout from the terrorism attacks.

The disparity, according to the Sentinel, has much to do with the demographic differences in the two parks' markets: Disneyland draws huge attendance from a steady supply of West Coast visitors who drive there. Disney World relies heavily on tourists who fly in from the North, Midwest and overseas.

Also Monday, Disney fired an unspecified number of highly paid contract workers in its technology segment. The company would not confirm the estimates by other Disney employees that about 40 contract workers, some at the attraction for as long as five years, were dismissed effective Oct. 19.

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