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Video: Abigail Disney | Dignity isn’t a privilege. It’s a worker’s right.

What’s the purpose of a company? In this bold talk, activist and filmmaker Abigail Disney imagines a world where companies have a moral obligation to place their workers above shareholders, calling on Disney (and all corporations) to offer respect, dignity and a living wage to everyone who works for them.

Running time: 11 minutes

Email subscribers may watch Abigail Disney’s TED talk by clicking the title of this post.

For years, Disney workers have demanded a living wage so they don’t have to live in motels or homeless shelters. (Photo by Michael Sainato)

Abigail Disney says:

Of all the characters in all the Disney films the one I love the most is Jiminy Cricket from “Pinocchio.” My favorite scene in the movie is when the blue fairy is saying to Pinocchio, “Always let your conscience be your guide.” Pinocchio asks, “What are conscience?”and Jiminy Cricket is scandalized by the question. “What are conscience! What are conscience! Conscience is that still, small voice that people won’t listen to. That’s just the trouble with the world today.” I love the way Jiminy Cricket is always there with a nerdy, ethical thing just as Pinocchio’s coming up with some kind of good plan. I think of him as speaking truth to puppet.

I always wondered what it was about Jiminy Cricket that made me love him so much and one day it hit me. It was because he sounds like my grandfather. My grandfather was a very sweet and cuddly man, and I loved him to the moon and back. But I shared him with a big, wide world. His name was Roy O. Disney, and together with his younger brother Walt Disney, he came from a very humble upbringing in Kansas and started and ran one of the most iconic businesses in the world.

Two things I remember the best about going to Disneyland with my grandfather. The first thing was he always gave me a stern warningthat if I ever sassed anybody who worked there, I was in deep doo-doo when we got home. He said, “these people work really hard –harder than you can imagine, and they deserve your respect.” The other is that he never walked by a piece of garbage, inside of Disneyland or anywhere else, where he didn’t bend over to pick it up. He said, “no one’s too good to pick up a piece of garbage.”

In Grandpa’s day, a job at Disneyland was not a gig. A person could expect to own a home, raise a family, access decent health care,retire in some security without worrying on just what he earned there at the park…. [continue reading the transcript of Abigail Disney’s talk...]

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