Can we stop beating the Disney layoffs to death already?

 

11393245_10153300498031544_1795513292183049980_nIf you’re either Disney obsessed, big on following the job market, or just on Facebook or Twitter all the time, chances are that you’ve heard about the layoffs already.

For those of you who have managed to escape the constant onslaught of posts and outrage about the issue, here is a recap:

  • Recently, it came out that in 2014, Disney laid off 250 tech workers, who were then required to train their replacements from India before either being offered another job within the company (which they had to apply for), or simply leaving after the 90 days and accepting their full severance for the position.
  • Not only has one senator called an investigation into Disney for this move (which, although unsavoury is also completely legal), but a massive online mob of people have begun crying fowl and Disney has received a lot of flack for this decision.
  • People are outraged that an American company would do such a thing, and are calling for the immediate boycotting of everything Disney, and/or bemoaning about how Disney has broken their hearts by becoming so callous.
  • The issue has been hugely sensationalized (as always) online with people angry and upset over the hundreds of affected employees, and how unloyal they have been to their entire employee group (note: in the US alone there are well over 30,000 jobs for workers at Disney, the laid off amount is 250).

As a member of several Disney Facebook groups, an outraged post is shared about this at least once every couple of hours. There is valid reason to be upset that the positions are being outsourced, but quite frankly, people are beating a dead horse here.

For starters, as much as it sucks, this is not something that is limited to Disney. Hundreds of companies across North America are either outsourcing their positions to save on the bottom line costs, or are simply packing up and moving to countries like Mexico, India and China. In most of these instances, we’re talking entire factories and companies of workers – not just a couple hundred, but some are up to the thousand employee mark. Most of them, management included, are expected to train their replacements and finish out their term if they wish to receive their full severance pay.

But that IS really bad and needs to be talked about” some would say, and those people are right. But here is the problem: the conversation is not moving to the increased legality for companies to do this and the increased number of companies jumping on this proverbial bandwagon that is robbing North Americans of decent, steady wage jobs. If it were, I would be all for this conversation. What it has done, is turned into a backlash for Disney alone, with many people acting as if this is the first time something has ever happened.

In one conversation online, someone actually told me ‘Disney is more relevant than the others, that’s why we’re still talking about it.’ If 250 Disney employees, in a company that provides more jobs in America alone than the population of my hometown, are more relevant than the thousands of employees being displaced across the continent each month, I seriously fear not just for our economy, but for people who are being told that they are irrelevant because they didn’t work for one of the world’s biggest companies.

Another told me that the fact that several employees have come forward and said they were disgruntled and displeased with the way things went down means this is more relevant than the other layoffs happening around the continent. In about 90% (or higher) of the layoffs I’ve heard about, whether it was for outsourcing, restructuring, or simply an easy way to ‘fire’ somebody they didn’t like who was doing nothing wrong according to the labour laws, the employees tend to not only be displeased about the way things went down, but remain disgruntled about it as well. The only thing that made these employees more important was once again, that Disney was attached to the company name.

I’ve witnessed more and more people flipping out and cancelling their vacations, crying BOYCOTT Disney, and in the same breath, continuing to use Mobile, Internet and TV companies who have been doing the same thing with their IT and customer service departments for years. They cry out about the injustices, all the while continuing to shop at clothing companies that have outsourced their worker lines to countries where they can charge 5 cents an hour to a foreigner to make their clothes, or buy technology from companies whose factories have uprooted to Mexico for cheaper costs to produce them.

There’s a huge part of me that would love to stand here and cheer going ‘THE CONVERSATION IS FINALLY STARTING’, but as anyone who has monitored trends on social media knows, this is simply the next bandwagon ‘slacktivism’ cause for people to jump onto and feel better about themselves because they’re not supporting such ‘blatant disregard for the American people’.

There was a time where I believed that simply having the conversation would lead to the next conversation, but cause after cause, outrage after outrage online has proven one big thing: people really don’t care, and they don’t care about making sure that conversation continues. Look at KONY 2012, the Ukranian War, the missing girls from Nigeria – pretty much anything that has graced our online world and incited outrage. Once it’s been beaten to death, it disappears, and the roots of the issues are ignored as if that was the only part of the issue that was relevant or important.

I’m all for getting outraged and wanting things to change, but don’t jump on the bandwagon. If you’re going to get outraged, get outraged at the overall situation, get outraged about the fact that Disney is only one of thousands of companies doing this same thing, and fight for change in all areas. But if you’re going to scream ‘BOYCOTT’ and pretend like Disney is the devil, at least follow through and find out who else is doing the same. Follow through and stop shopping or receiving services from every company doing the same. Otherwise, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but your lack of credibility will be shining through like a bright, flashy beacon.

4 thoughts on “Can we stop beating the Disney layoffs to death already?

  1. Well said! Whenever a news story like this comes up people seem to think it is the only example of it happening and are ignorant that the issue is much wider than the one the media have grabbed hold of. It’s so common for everyone to simply agree with what the media are saying without considering the wider implications

  2. I agree with everything you’ve written here (on an issue I’ve also been following), but, unlike you, I haven’t been inundated by threats of Disney boycotts and the like. As a matter of fact, this seems to be a news item that bypassed a lot of progressive, current events-savvy people I know. I’ve taken it upon myself to spread not only the news about Disney, but the news that this had been going on at other companies at well.

    I wish more people were as aware of this issue–and the necessity of taking action on it–as you are!

  3. I’ve always wondered why issues like this become such a big deal. In the current corporate market of the US, many companies are actually provided huge financial benefits by outsourcing their works — be it in small or large quantities. While I’m not a fan of people losing their jobs by any means, this specific layoff is so small (as you alluded to), that it’s barely an impact to anyone outside of the families of those laid off.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *