SeaWorld Entertainment is reportedly seeking Federal aid through the newly announced Main Street Lending Program following the furlough of most of their workforce. While SeaWorld’s employees are not unionized, an Orlando based  union is arguing that the company should not be awarded assistance until they do more for their employees.

What’s happening:

  • Following the furlough of more than 90% of its employees, SeaWorld Entertainment is currently looking for federal loan assistance according to a report from My News 13.
  • Beyond the SeaWorld parks, the company also operates the domestic Busch Gardens and Sesame Place parks.
  • SeaWorld Entertainment is hoping to receive support from the Federal Reserve's Main Street Lending Program in which, “loans would have a four year maturity, and principal and interest payments on the loans will be deferred for one year.”  
  • However an Orlando labor group argues that the company should not receive such Federal help until they put furloughed employees back on payroll and resume health insurance benefits.
  • SeaWorld’s executives have taken a 20% pay cut while the parks are shut down, although the company reportedly made a deal to issue $6.8 million in restricted stock funds to top executives under the condition they remain on for two years.
  • The Unite Here! Local 355 officials addressed the Treasury Secretary and Federal Reserve chair in a letter saying, “Nevertheless, SeaWorld’s professed active engagement with this program concerns us."
  • The union compares SeaWorld’s actions to that of Disney who kept employees on payroll for a month before furloughs began, and are also covering health insurance costs of 43,000 unionized workers (in Orlando). These benefits will reportedly be covered for the “length of the shutdown up to one year.”
  • SeaWorld’s employees are not unionized.
  • The U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve announced the loan program just a few weeks ago and have yet to issue finalized guidelines. Additionally, banks have not started accepting applications.
  • At this time, companies applying for a loan of $1-25 million would be “eligible for loans if they meet either of the following conditions:
  • SeaWorld didn't respond to requests for comment.