Thus far, UNITE-HERE Local 11 has been trying to spin their dispute with Anaheim Arena Management into an issue of whether their members will continue working at The Honda Center when AAM takes over food service operations from Aramark on July 1.
Judging by the media coverage, the spinning is working. This Voice of OC article from last week is a good example:
Labor unions are increasing pressure on Honda Center management amid concerns that more than 400 workers who serve food and drinks at the Anaheim arena could soon lose their jobs.
Arena management will take control of food service in July, and it isn’t ruling out layoffs.
And by corollary, they haven’t ruled them in, either.
The nervousness of UNITE-HERE members is understandable. But it shouldn’t be the issue for the city.
The job of Anaheim Arena Management is to provide Honda Center patrons with the most enjoyable experience possible, and to do so in a cost-efficient manner while making a profit. To that end, AAM needs to ensure that the interaction of patrons — who are under no obligation to patronize Honda Center events — is pleasant and quick. Judging from anecdotal evidence I have seen, at present it is often perfunctory and seldom quick.
Read the comments on the OC Register’s story on this topic from late March (if you can get past the paywall). The response of Honda Center patrons commenting on the shift from Aramark to AAM was jubilation, and the criticism of current food service operations withering.
Again, from the VOC article:
The food workers are calling on the Anaheim City Council, which has authority over the arena’s contract, to support their jobs.
Anaheim Arena Management shouldn’t be manacled by a statist “retention” ordinance imported from Los Angeles, as UNITE-HERE is advocating. If Anaheim Arena Management is planning on running the food service operations itself, I have little doubt they will try to retain good employees and replace bad ones.
Or they may try to go a different route altogether and adopt an airport terminal approach by contracting out the food kiosks to name brand operations like Carls Jr. or California Pizza Kitchen, who would hire their own employees.
There is a reason the City of Anaheim has always contracted out the management of the arena: because arena management is something the private sector can do much better, which is why Anaheim Arena Management should be given the freedom to do its job without politicians burdening them with special demands to placate a noisy special interest.
It’s worth digressing here to point out that if OCCORD, UNITE-HERE and the ACLU get their way with single-member council districts, “retention” and other statist policies won’t just be advocated by this coalition during public comments but will be pushed from the other side of the dais by Anaheim councilmembers.
Here’s a real nugget from the same VOC article:
They face an uphill battle with the council majority. It was elected largely with the financial backing of Disney and hotel owners, who tend to support lower wages.
Where is the substantiation for that claim? I don’t recall Disney or hotel owners calling, even in secret, for “lower wages.” Did Disney’s most recent contract with its unions contain some secret protocol cutting wages? Did Disney or any other resort hotel push for lower wages? That sentence sounds like something that would be said by a tenured college humanities professor who has spent his life in academia and really, truly believed companies succeed by exploiting workers and forcing consumers to buy shoddy goods.
At the end of the day, what worries UNITE-HERE Local 11 is that come July 1, Honda Center food service workers won’t be paying dues to UNITE-HERE Local 11. It’s ironic when unions assail private enterprise for paying attention to the bottom line when unions rarely take their eyes off their own.