notoystory3 notoystory3

The Anti – “Toy Story 3” Oscar Campaign

No on Toy Story 3

Unite Here, a union for Disneyland Hotel employees, has started a No Toy Story 3 campaign to thwart the Disney/Pixar film’s bid for an Oscar.

They’ve been making videos like this one to state their cause:

The hotel employees union is embroiled in a long-running dispute with Disney about the company’s demands that employees switch to a higher cost health care plan that would be unaffordable for many employees, some of whom make under $9 an hour. Variety has more details about the story, as does the Animation Guild blog.

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I’m a firm believer in the Gandhian concept that the measure of a society (or company) is reflected by how it treats its weakest members. However, I’m also inclined to agree with the Disneyland spokesperson who called this a “publicity stunt.” The Unite Here union is hanging its protest onto Toy Story 3‘s Oscar bid not because it’s relevant to their argument, but because it’s a high-profile event (see, they’re even getting coverage here). Standard union playbook stuff, but Toy Story 3‘s Oscar worthiness is so singularly specific that I find myself struggling to associate the plight of Disneyland hotel employees with film awards season.

If the only requirement for protest was that it had to be a Disney-owned product, why not Monday Night Football games on ESPN, Hannah Montana on The Disney Channel, Winnie the Pooh dolls, or even Mo Willems’ long-running series of children’s books published by Hyperion? Attempting to tie together one minor speck of the Disney empire (a film’s Oscar campaign) to an unrelated and tiny faction of Disney employees strikes me as an ineffective approach.

In any case, the union has smartly decided to wage their fight against Toy Story‘s Best Picture campaign, a category in which the film is a longshot to begin with. This way, even if Toy Story 3 wins Best Animated Feature, the union can still claim victory and say they successfully prevented the film from winning an Oscar.

  • Klyph

    Well at least the union isn’t exploiting their own kids for cheap sympath-oooooooooohhhhh wait.

    • As those children’s parents, is it exploiting them to aid their parents in living longer, healthier lives? Just saying.

      • tonma

        Sorry, but I think parents should fight their own battles and keep their children safe from politics… and the merciless scrutiny of the web also.

      • derpderp

        Sadly, it is actually their battle, too– they have something seriously at stake if they cannot have health care.

    • tonma

      isn’t that child abuse? in my planet it would be.

      Just as random as they are in bashing TS3, I won’t care about their cause just because of that misuse of a child.

      • Iritscen

        Tonma, where are they bashing TS3? They’re showing clips from it to bolster their message. I also don’t understand why Amid suggests numerous other areas of the Disney empire that would be just as logical targets as the TS3 Oscar. They’re clearly saying in this video that the message of TS3 is ‘not to treat like garbage those who make you what you are’. So that’s a pretty logical tie-in to their complaints, if you ask me. And since when is a parent being unable to afford health care for their kid a “political” issue?

      • JJ

        Iritscen, the union is obviously attacking “Toy Story 3” as a publicity stunt, not because the union feels it is unfit for best picture. TS3’s fitness for “Best Picture” is 100% unrelated to whether Disney should keep paying for the worker’s health care.

        For the record I agree with the workers’ claim that a company as wealthy as Disney should continue helping with health coverage. But it pisses me off that they’re latching onto a completely unrelated issue in order to give their issue more publicity.

        The other targets Amid suggests are to illustrate the point that TS3 was chosen as a victim because of its high profile, not because of its relevance to the battle between the workers and Disney. He merely asked “if they wanted to attack Disney, why not go after Pooh or ESPN?” The answer being “because TS3 is in the news now and by mounting a campaign against it, they’ll get publicity for their COMPLETELY UNRELATED issue.”

        And of course the health care argument is a political issue; it clearly is about the politics within Disney and how the company is run. Saying it’s political doesnt discredit the worker’s dispute any, it simply describes it.

        The big criticism is that the workers are bringing their children front and center, to the public, in a political dispute between worker and employer. They’re almost using their children like a human shield, forcing people to focus on sympathy rather than the validity of their argument. It’s a cheap move that weakens their position since it implies that sympathy is their only defense, the only reason they should get health care.

  • I believe the Mob is funding this.

  • They’re right, Toy Story 3 is not Hollywood’s Best Picture. It may be between the ten better ones , though, but mostly cause there are not too many competition.

    But anyway I think their cause is totally unrelated to the subject they have chosen.

    • But if they had chosen any of the other Disney properties to protest against, as Amid rhetorically “suggested,” would anyone have even heard of this? I certainly wouldn’t have, and as such I think that they’ve actually chosen their target pretty well.

  • You know what, as silly as it sounds, the reason I would go for this versus, as you say, targeting Football, or Hannah Montana, or Disney Channel, is because participants in the Oscars constantly insist upon thrusting themselves in social/political issues whether or not they belonged there… their angle? “we as celebrities have a duty to bring the world’s problems to everyone’s attentions” blahblahblah, George Clooney drives himself to the show in a Prius.

    If Hollywood can increase its social cachet by attaching themselves to the movement-du-jour why can’t a movement attach itself to the movie-du-jour?

    • Scarabim

      Ahhhh, very good point.

      I tend to sympathize with the employees in this case. Disney’s pay sucks. These employees have to deal with the public, one-on-one, and, speaking from experience, that is a DAMN hard job to do well on a consistent basis. It kind of stinks that Disney will buy some of the lamest, most irrelevant stuff like puppets and superheroes but won’t give its employees a fair shake. SHAME! Shame on you, Iger!

  • These workers have a TOTALLY Valid point and should definitely fight this! I wish them success BUT THE PEOPLE WHO MADE TOY STORY 3 HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS!

    really really messed up.

    Toy Story 3 for Best picure AND Disney needs to treat their workers right!

  • santa

    Nevermind how health coverage is happening all over the rest of the world, but I can’t even listen to them for the mere fact that they’re basing their claims off of a completely unrelated topic!

  • Andrew

    This backlash is WHACK-lash, yo.

    • Mike Russo

      Perfect. Close the comments. No more needs to be said.

  • hahahahahah!

  • Matt

    The unions can take a flying leap for all I care. They are screwing up the economy again.

    Granted the movie is good but the unions have nothing to do with this.

    Shame on them.

    • The Obvious

      Unions ARE screwing up the economy again!

      I’m tired of people blaming unregulated giant financial institutions when we all know it’s people earning low wages banding together for health care that are really to blame.

      The Academy will probably buy this hook, line, and sinker as we all know that they are in the pocket of SAG and DGA who are responsible for credit default swaps not being regulated by a government agency and the reckless bundling of subprime mortgages and regular mortgages that led to the housing market collapse.

      Darn unions!

      • Jeff Haynes

        I’d like to know what “low wages” are from Disney. Screw the union.

    • Karen

      “”The unions can take a flying leap for all I care. They are screwing up the economy again.”

      The most immature, ignorant comment I’ve read on this site in years.

      • Unrevealed

        I could say the same of you.

        If you do research on both sides, you’d find that no one is a clean party and most actions from any regulated union bring as much damage to the economy as the greedy fat cats high atop their glass towers.

      • The Obvious

        Again, I totally agree!

        Where do these unions think the money is going to come from? Bob Iger’s compensation for his work at Disney netted him a mere $29,028,362.00 in 2009, and I don’t even know if that includes healthcare for him and his family!

        Honestly, just because these scheming unions and their members probably earn the same amount combined as the senior executives they work for, it doesn’t make them as important or equal (accept in their responsibility for the economic mess we’re in).

        As far as I’m concerned executives earning 29 million dollars a year are doing LESS damage than these welfare cases using their children to make us think that they are human beings with families. Are we supposed to believe that if union members can’t afford their healthcare that these children will be affected at all?


        Shame on you unions, and thank you “Unrevealed” for telling it like it is!

  • Chris

    The people who made Toy Story 3 might not have anything to do with this; but, realistically, who profits more from an Academy Award for Toy Story 3? Ball-busted animators or Disney corporate?

    The union is right to make this kind of attack. Strike the beast where it counts.

  • Darkblader

    I have my respect for hotel workers, but this looks like a stunt. And those two kids at the end of the video look like they were forced to say that

  • Michael F.

    I’ve never seen anything like this with a union in mind; hard to believe they’re actually taking this stand all the way out to the Academy. Then again, I doubt it’ll change anyone’s minds. Heck, I’d vote the Social Network for my Best Picture nod if I had a vote and I’d still do it even if Facebook employees protested it!

  • I think they are going about it the wrong way- sure the move will get them publicity but it’s going after the wrong division…and any number of reasons.

    PersonallyI don’t think Toy Story 3 deserves the Oscar simply because I didn’t like the movie.

  • sigh

    It’s incredibly stupid gestures such as this that have decimated the real power unions once held and reduced them to pandering for attention. Shame on them, because we could really used strong, valid unions again. They have cut off their noses just to spite their faces.

  • James Mason

    A pretty pointless rally, because Toy Story 3 had absolutely no chance of being nominated let alone winning as it was.

    Not to mention Disney Hotels is pretty small potatoes when considering the number employed, compared to most other Disney enterprises. I would be extremely surprised if such a campaign made any real difference. They might as well be protesting the Epic Mickey video game.

  • Toonio

    You all know the academy already engraved the statue for best animation feature don’t you?

  • At least they’ve moved on from passing out fliers at Disneyland warning parents that Disney attracts pedophiles. Yeah, that happened. And we’re supposed to feel sympathetic to their cause??

  • Karen

    There’s no such thing as “bad publicity.”

    • I personally don’t believe that. Any kind of publicity – good or bad – can make people aware of someone or something, but that’s just part of the battle. If you additionally want to make people take a particular action like buying a product or not voting for a movie to win Best Picture, making a negative impression can be harmful to your goal.

      I agree with Amid’s view of the situation. I sympathize with the employees’ plight, but I don’t think campaigning aainst Toy Story 3 for Best Picture is going to get them anything but a brief burst of media attention. Like Amid said, the question this raises is “Why focus on Toy Story 3?” as opposed to any other part of the enormous Disney company, including Disneyland itself. I think a lot of the general public is only going to see a movie that they liked being attacked for something that has nothing to do with the movie and only the most tenuous of connections to the moviemakers. Though it may not actually be the case, I think people like to believe that the Oscars are awarded on the merits of the work and not outside concerns.

  • Hal


    ALPHA AND OMEGA and MEGAMIND should fit in here somewhere, but haven’t seen them so this equation remains unfinished…

    • amid

      Funny, I don’t recall this being a “rank your favorite features of the year” post. Please stay on topic.

  • NC

    Funny, I wasn’t even going to vote for TS3 anyway.

    Two birds… one stone…

  • Has anyone heard of the documentary “Mousetrapped 2010”?

    From the description on YouTube: “MouseTrapped 2010 is the story of the workers that make the Magic and their struggles in these tough economic times…a backstage look at what Pixie Dust is really made of.”

    Part I:

    Part II:

    I recently saw a documentary on HBO called “Homeless: The Motel Kids of Orange County”.

    In it, they profiled a mother who worked at Disneyland and made barely enough to survive. While the argument can be made that life choices are the main factor in ending up living in a hotel as a single mother with a large family, the fact that the pay is so low at the parks while the cost of living around the parks is so high does not help.

  • andreas Wessel-Therhorn

    While I do believe that the campaign against Toy Story 3 is a misguided one, I am rather appalled to see so many union hating comments on this site. then again, that may explain why our own union is pretty toothless.

  • Shawn’s Bro

    Uh, whatever happened to “going on strike?”

    • Alissa

      ‘Needing a salary to pay for food and housing’ is what happened. These people probably can’t afford to go without a wage for however many weeks they’d be on strike.

      Plus, how many are unemployed in America right now? Anyone who quits can be easily replaced.

  • This makes me care about their plight even less

  • Yes it’s sad but it has nothing to do with Toy Story 3. The Mickey crack was uncalled for and getting their children involved was just a bit manipulative.

  • And yes it is the best picture of the year.

  • AJ

    I would of thought that hotel and park staff would be working for a contract company thus wages would of been paid by the company. Also isn’t Toy story a Pixar movie so it would have nothing to do with hotel staff. If the wages are so bad and no health care, strike! Your a union isn’t that what unions are for?

  • I feel for the cause, I’m in a similar position with a day job (in education) that is decent task-wise, but cannot afford to pay me a living wage by the standards of the area…

    I think attacking the company and the company products is only going to hurt their cause…

    At the end of the day you got to ask yourself why the food you eat, the house you live in and the meds the “doctors” tell you to take cost up to 10 times more than what they are materially worth…

    bottom line: change will only come when ALL OF US change our ways of life.

  • Yup – the Academy is sure not going to nomminate Toy Story 3 because of this ‘touching’ video…

    The movie had nothing to do with you, former employees. Damn unions…

  • Darío

    Disney is also well known for bad pauyment to irrelevant employees, but too bad. The company also prints its books in China where people there are practically slaves, working 18 hours a day. Check a documentary about it on YouTube and you’ll see it by yourself.

    I do have “the art of” kind of books. I have other stuff coming with the name of Disney but they were all printed in China. So, that turns me into a guily man as well? OK, but how can we escape from this horrible capitalism?

    Of course, it’s also the othe country’s fault, but companies like Disney which are viewed as a love throwing machine, they could just behave properly.

  • paburrows

    Maybe this is Karma for their behavior with this years Annie Awards.

  • John Thomas

    If Toy Story 3 fails to nab the Best Picture Oscar this year it won’t be attributable to Disney Hotel Workers. It will be because of SAG, which views animated features with contempt (while A list actors enjoy hefty pieces of the action voicing cartoon leads).

  • This is an odd thing to protest against cause it’s an award and while I’m not aware of the AMOUNT of money that a company gets from these awards, it’s still celebrating the achievements of the people who worked on the movie (FYI Pixar hasn’t won best Animated picture every year in a row either, let alone Disney animated films). And I believe that there is an animators union that would benefit from winning the award, so how do they stand in all of this?

    I’m also confused over the fact that Disney would take away, or charge their health care plan. Doesn’t the new Government Health Care Plan say something about all companies should provide affordable health care plans to their employees? So why would Disney change the policy like this? Are they trying to compensate for other areas of their parks employment services where they need to provide health care?

    I support unions because their basic core principle is to make sure the companies to do abuse the rights of the employees but often times they do cause problems. I worked at Safeway for about 2 weeks and these elderly women who have been working in the Deli for 15 years felt like they owned the damn place yet were still salves to safeway, getting terrible wages and poor health care. When the union had a strike, the employees didn’t win and the older women still had the same deal but all the new people coming in got paid less and minimal health care. Why suffer to do a job you hate so long as you’re getting it better then the guy under you? It might be that their just doesn’t need to be unions for everything, or instead of so many separate unions that there be ones that some make a connection to unions that have known to work well… (this opinion might come from me not truly understanding unions)

    I also have to point out that they don’t have to work there. If you’re job skills are only limited to cleaning and washing sheets, then you’re not going to get the top paying jobs. Disney jobs, much like grocery stores and walmarts were not ment to be a stable job. They’re for the young highschool/college kid who needs to make a few bucks on the side while getting their masters so they can possibly move up in the company or move on to something better. While I sympathize for the families in this ad, I don’t get the impressing that they intend to move ahead with their career or they’re going to get a decent living by cleaning up after richer people…this I’m aware is the fault of education and job opportunities being so limited to the poorer minorities.

    BUT I agree with a main point, Disney makes so much money, why would they make the employees pay so much into a health care plan when they already make so little? Also they are the employees that do the jobs that noone else would want to do; cleaning up the hotels. That’s a very important job and I’ve been there recently, they DO make the places look wonderful. It doesn’t have to be a union based issue, just treat your employees better.

  • Giovanni Jones

    Even if this action doesn’t work, they can still claim that they successfully blocked Yogi Bear from winning Best Picture. Unless…

  • Maxie

    Even though Toy Story 3 is #5 (TS1 being #5.66 and TS2 being #5.33) on my Best Animated Films list, I sometimes feel that Pixar are cheating. The Illusionist was amazing, #8 on the list, and yet films like that hardly ever win because the only two Pixar films that didn’t win the Best Animated Feature award are Monsters, Inc. and Cars.
    Cars 2 may not win, but I sometimes wish they’d give the others a chance…

  • James E. Parten

    First off, this DOES smack of a publicity stunt!

    Secondly: it may well resonate with Academy members.

    Most of them are quite to the left of center, politically speaking. You are more likely to find them at protests against Obama’s deal with the GOP on the Bush tax cuts than you will at a Sarah Palin rally! This is a natural fact!

    Many of them support the unions, and do so quite blindly. They cannot understand that labor unions only represent between eight and ten percent of the American workforce. They do not realize that, even at their peak, unions only represented just over a third of the workforce. But the Progressives are for the unions, and whatever they want.

    While there is no clear ideological favorite in this year’s crop of Oscar candidates, one figures that the only way that “Toy Story 3” will even be nominated is because there will be ten nominations, not five. The sort of political theatre staged by Unite Here will not be a factor, as Unite Here is preaching to the choir.

  • Marc Baker

    Confidentially, I’d rather join an ‘Anti-Twilight Eclipse’ campaign that this.

  • HB

    Who else is feeling the irony that Pixar is largley a non-union studio?

  • All right, here’s my full disclosure: I’m a seasonal Florida cast member. I dropped my status from fulltime when I went back to school, which I did because I realized that working in an hourly operations job, while fun for a couple years, would not make for much of a lifetime career.

    For those who do want to make it a lifetime career, Disney hires management exclusively from within the company, and becoming a manager does not require any sort of degree. For those who want one anyway, Disney provides tuition reimbursement.

    So yes, Disney does have an awful lot of really crappy-paying jobs. Some of them should probably pay an awful lot more. But it’s not as if the better-paying jobs are totally out of reach.

  • Marco

    Of all the movies I’ve seen, I would easily put Toy Story 3 up with the best of them. All this politics crap… meh. Out of 10 nominees, I certainly hope a movie of TS3’s quality is one of them.

  • Steve

    I still think Pixar should protest Toy Story 3 since their animators are the lowest paid in the industry (at least, in comparable feature film jobs)

  • John

    If Pixar doesn’t get a Best Picture nomination for Toy Story 3 will they too leave the Academy Awards like they walked out on the Annie’s?

  • Dave O.

    I like this tactic, but I would have preferred the organizer’s video to have been less emotional and with more charts and graphs… maybe a pie chart and a scary voice-over.

  • AaronSch

    Last time I checked you were still free to pursue other employment opportunities. You should have no illusions about the motivations of an employer. If you don’t like what you are doing or how you are being compensated, you should be actively looking for greener pastures while you still have a job. But many are lazy and prefer to stay where they are and whine.

    Next year will see the economic collapse of many state and city governments where union contracts and entitlements have drained the coffers. The taxpayers have had enough and states like California which are facing bankruptcy will seek a federal bailout. However, many of us across the country will vehemently oppose that notion. Bankruptcy will legally allow many outrageous union contracts to be renegotiated. I have more disdain for unions and government than I do for big business. At least Disney and Pixar aren’t constantly raiding my wallet… that is, unless I allow them to do it.

    The party is over folks.

  • Mike

    Sigh. This is even sadder than the teacup ride protests of 1968. Jimmy Hoffa was never the same after that…

  • Ryoku

    Geez, the guy makes dishwashing sound like a big deal.
    I was a diswasher for around a year and I quit for health reasons, it wasn’t the washing that was hard, it was making the half-hour walk just to make $64 every other week.

  • You hate disney? fine, go ahead. but DO NOT lay all your greifs on Pixar. i get it, they want to send a message. and i know that this will probably not affect anything. but it makes me angry that these people are dissing Toy Story 3, even though Pixar had nothing to do with their healthcare. and what is with the clips put into the video. they are completley out of context. and i’m pretty sure those kids didn’t willingly go on this video so they can say that TS3 is horrible.
    this is like somebody getting a badly made burger at McDonalds and blaming the janitor.

  • Victor

    This is what I commented on Youtube and I still stand by this:
    “This is very reminiscent of the Disney animators’ strike of ’41. Thanks to that, you union organizers permanently put into people’s mind that Walt was an anti-Semite. What are you going to do this time? Are you going to accuse John Lasseter of being a Nazi? Is Bob Iger a member of the KKK? You may believe you’re helping Disneyland workers everywhere, but you’re destroying the magic for adults AND children all over the world.”

  • kane

    “please don’t throw away my mom.”

  • Jorgen Klubien

    hmmm.. that’s odd, no comment from Floyd Norman?!

  • Christopher

    My reasons for hating Toy Story 3 are very practical and legitimate complaints. I will stress that I am NOT a Pixar hater, nor am I a Toy Story hater. I have the Ultimate Toy Box DVD set on my shelf at home as proof of that. I only hate Toy Story 3. Why? Because it was a contrived story that made little sense, and totally disrespected the established plotline from the first 2 films.
    The moment I walked out of Toy Story 2 in theaters, I was left anticipating a third and final film that would chronicle the obvious next step of how Woody, after betraying himself and the Roundup Gang, would find a way to rescue Stinky Pete. It’s obvious in the TV show that Pete was never a bad guy, so I don’t get why the movie tried to make him into one. Sorry, everybody… tell me ‘Stinky Pete is evil’ a hundred times till you’re blue in the face, but you will not change my interpretation of the character.
    I, as the viewer, believe Stinky Pete genuinely cared about Woody, just like Jessie and Bullseye, but never having an owner simply limits Pete’s understanding of the world. Buzz and Woody were pretty dim-witted to think that spoiled brat Amy is gonna give Pete the affection he needs. HE NEEDS TO BE WITH ANDY.
    In Toy Story 2, to go two-thirds through the movie, only to elevate Stinky Pete to major character status in the last third, seemed like a totally obvious ‘coming soon’ attraction for an assumed Toy Story 3, which would resolve the new, intense conflict at hand. I was so disappointed that this film never came, I wrote my own 57-page script of what I believed would happen next, and I didn’t even bother to see Pixar’s Toy Story 3 when it was in theaters. Saw it later on DirecTV December of that year, and I was not impressed with the direction the film went at all.
    For me, it left WAY too many unanswered questions, making it quite anti-climactic, in my opinion. Stinky Pete needs to be rescued, even if it doesn’t happen till Toy Story 7 (lol). Maybe J.K. Rowling should be consulted on how to turn Stinky Pete into a 100% good guy. Plot twists and revelations seem to be her distinguished trademark…

  • Christopher

    I hated Toy Story 3. Stinky Pete should have been rescued in Toy Story 3 so the Roundup Gang would be together again. I was so angry when I learned that Pete wasn’t going to be in the new film. What were these filmmakers thinking? Woody totally betrayed himself and the Roundup Gang once he said “Who am I… to break up the Roundup Gang?”, and yet that’s EXACTLY what he did. Stinky Pete’s character was cleverly used to let Woody look at himself from an objective point of view, but Woody clearly hasn’t figured this out yet. The Toy Story 3 we got was just pathetic and meaningless. I don’t know how anyone can say it’s worthy of all the hulla ballo and critical raves its received, because it isn’t.
    I don’t know if that’s why other people dislike Pixar’s Toy Story 3, but it’s so obvious to me, it hurts.