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The BBC's Peter Bowes in LA
"Workers have won the right to be assigned individual items of underwear"
 real 28k

Friday, 8 June, 2001, 09:48 GMT 10:48 UK
Clean underwear for Disney workers
The Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World
Trouble in the Magic Kingdom
Workers who play characters such as Mickey Mouse, Pluto or Goofy at Walt Disney World have won the right to clean underwear.

Employees had been concerned that shared clothing posed a health risk, since they were not allowed to launder them at home.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse
Even cartoon characters have underwear worries
Now, after nearly two months of negotiations, workers will be given individual undergarments, which they can take home each night to wash.

"Things have been passed around," said Gary Steverson, a stilt walker at Animal Kingdom, talking to AP.

"I know I don't want to share my tights and I don't want to share my underwear."

A Disney spokeswoman refused to comment on the new contract provisions, but added that the company wanted its cast members to be happy with their costumes.

Each night, they hand in the underwear with the rest of their costume before going home, and pick up a new set the next day.

Many of the characters have to wear Disney-issued jock-straps, tights or cycling shorts underneath their costumes because normal underwear bunches up and can be seen.

I know I don't want to share my tights and I don't want to share my underwear

Gary Steverson
Stilt walker

Disney officials had told the workers that hot water was used to wash the clothes, but this was apparently not the case, said Mr Steverson, a shop steward with the Teamsters union, which represents the workers.

Some workers complained about receiving undergarments that were stained or smelly and Mr Steverson said there have been three cases of costumed workers at the Magic Kingdom getting pubic lice or scabies during the past two years.

The costumed characters and Disney workers from five other unions vote next week on the new contract, which covers about 25,000 of Disney World's 55,000 workers.

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See also:

28 Mar 01 | Business
Disney to axe 4,000 jobs
19 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Disney settles Fantasia claim
05 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Disney and Sony lead worldwide takings
31 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Silent star heir sues Disney
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