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.

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