The Walt Disney Co. has decided against laying off 35 tech employees at Disney/ABC Television in New York and Burbank, California. Employees were previously told they would be training their replacements — immigrants brought in by an outsourcing company — but the training process was suspended after a few days, and employees got good news on Saturday. “We were read a precisely worded statement,” one of the employees laid off said. “We were told our jobs were continuing and we should consider it as if nothing had happened until further notice.”
Disney’s reversal of layoffs has eased fear within the company of tech workers on the chopping block after Walt Disney World in Florida cut 250 tech employees in January. Those laid off workers said in order to receive severances, they had to train immigrants from India on short-term work visas on how to do their jobs. The tech layoffs at Disney are one cog in a bigger picture problem for the industry, with outsourcing firms bringing in more and more immigrants to do tech work at the expense of American workers.
One former Disney employee blogged about his dismissal Saturday. Keith Barrett worked for 10 years at Disney in Orlando, Florida before being dismissed. Barrett said he was forced in January to take a retirement that “was not planned and was seven years before we were financially ready.” At the time, his family was “dealing with medical challenges,” he said. There’s no word yet what spurred the change of mind in Disney executives. Should these Disney tech employees rejoice or still brace for the worse?