I am currently working as a Professional Intern at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL along with 3 other interns from ILR. In addition, I am fortunate enough to be working alongside many gifted and successful individuals including a few ILR graduates. I am less than half-way through my 7-month credit internship and it has already been an incredible experience. Thus far, I have participated in negotiations for a council agreement which consists of six different unions and an addendum agreement for the Teamsters. I have also had the opportunity to observe a number of arbitration and grievance hearings, as well as to do research for LR Managers to assist them in preparing for these hearings.
While I have spent a portion of my time simply as an observer, I have spent even more time supporting various LR managers around the office by working on projects for them. One of my tasks involved assisting with the implementation of the STCU contract while another included helping to organize a new class that will be used to teach leaders how to lead Cast Members (Disney’s term for employees) in a unionized environment. The other interns and I also documented union disruptive activity throughout the negotiations process. My current projects include creating a presentation to empower leaders to make more well-thought out and complete decisions pertaining to discipline, another presentation about the history of two unions (Actors’ Equity Association and American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada), developing a training tool for managing grievance hearings, and another pertaining to attendance issues. I am also working towards facilitating a grievance hearing on my own. Throughout all of this, I have had the pleasure of working with top executives and leaders, and I cannot wait to see what other learning experiences await me over the next four months.
Aside from working, there are many perks of living in the “happiest place on earth”. The other interns and I have access to all of the parks and frequently utilize this amazing benefit. We get significant discounts and have access to once-in-a-lifetime opportunities like testing rides after the park closes with other Cast Members. On the weekends, I have been able to travel to other cities such as Tampa, Jacksonville, and Miami. Orlando is in a very convenient location and offers many fun things to do. Interns can also live in Disney-sponsored housing and meet college students from all over the world. These past few months have definitely been the greatest experience of my life and I would highly recommend the Disney Labor Relations Professional Internship.
- Kayla Viola, BSILR'16