Thousands of Disney workers are reportedly pushing back on their boss Bob Iger’s strict return-to-office plan – arguing in a petition that the four-day-per-week requirement will have “unintended consequences” for the company.
The petition has already drawn signatures from more than 2,300 corporate employees across the Mouse House’s businesses, including ABC, Pixar, Marvel Studios and others. Iger’s mandate is set to take effect on March 1.
The disgruntled workers say the mandate is “likely to have unintended consequences that cause long-term harm to the company” by forcing out “hard-to-replace talent and vulnerable communities,” according to a copy of the petition obtained by the Washington Post.
“This policy will slow, or even reverse, our post-COVID recovery and growth by creating critical resource shortages and causing irreplaceable institutional knowledge loss,” the petition adds.
Disney’s return-to-office plan – one of the strictest of its kind in the entertainment media sector – comes as Iger attempts to lead a turnaround at the struggling company. Prior to the change, employees were expected to work on site for just two or three days per week.
Organizers reportedly submitted the petition to upper management alongside hundreds of testimonials from employees affected by the policy change – with some claiming they plan to resign if Iger follows through on its implementation. Others say they feel as though the policy will effectively force them to leave.
Many of the testimonials were submitted by employees who are parents or who described themselves as “neurodivergent” and affected by conditions such as dyslexia, attention-deficit disorder or autism, according to the Washington Post.
The workers want Iger to invest in remote work support for Disney’s workforce while simultaneously fostering a work culture through in-person events and networking opportunities.
“Flexibility at Disney really felt like a fresh start,” the petition added. “Now it feels like we’re moving backwards.”
The Post has reached out to Disney for comment on the petition.
Iger first unveiled plans for a four-day-per-week requirement in January, just weeks after he returned for another stint as Disney CEO.
The Disney boss argued that in-person collaboration is necessary for the company’s revival.
“As you’ve heard me say many times, creativity is the heart and soul of who we are and what we do at Disney,” Iger said. “And in a creative business like ours, nothing can replace the ability to connect, observe, and create with peers that comes from being physically together, nor the opportunity to grow professionally by learning from leaders and mentors.”
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