October 19, 2011
In the basements of the Disneyland and Paradise Pier hotels in Anaheim, big flat-screen monitors hang from the walls in rooms where uniformed crews do laundry. The monitors are like scoreboards, with employees’ work speeds compared to one another. Workers are listed by name, so their colleagues can see who is quickest at loading pillow cases, sheets and other items into a laundry machine.
It should come as no surprise that at the happiest place on Earth, not all the employees are smiling. Isabel Barrera, a Disneyland Hotel laundry worker for eight years, began calling the new system the “electronic whip” when it was installed last year. The name has stuck.
“I was nervous,” said Barerra, who makes $11.94 an hour, “and felt that I was being controlled even more.”
Measuring productivity is commonplace in the hotel industry, and manual tallies were kept in Disney hotels until last year. Disney says the electronic system, which it also uses at its Florida resort, is becoming more common at hotels, though I haven’t found much evidence of that.
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