The militant hotel workers union UNITE-HERE Local 11 announced it will try to qualify a referendum against two of the three 4-Diamond hotel bed tax rebate agreements approved by the Anaheim City Council last month. UNITE-HERE is targeting the Anaheim Plaza Hotel and Ana Bella Hotel two properties being developed by Wincome Group, but not the TOT rebate agreement with Disney for its 4-Diamond hotel.
Why is UNITE-HERE Local 11 targeting the TOT tax rebate agreements with the Wincome Group but not the agreement with Disney? Currently, UNITE-HERE does not represent the future employees of the Wincome hotels, but its bargaining agreement with Disney’s existing Anaheim properties provides that workers at any future Disney hotels will also be UNITE-HERE members.
The union has formed a campaign committee called “Citizens for a Better Anaheim” and it’s clear from the press release issued that the union’s true complaint is the lack of a bargaining agreement with Wincome Group – not the TOT tax rebate agreements themselves:
Taxpayers and union members of Citizens for a Better Anaheim contend that development agreements for the proposed Anaheim Plaza and Anabella hotels are government giveaways to luxury hotel developers—money that could fund schools, roads or other city services that benefit more of the city’s residents.
However, UNITE-HERE does not consider the exact same agreement with Disney is a “giveaway”:
A Disney development also proposed under the City’s Hotel Incentive Program is an example of how the public could receive more benefits from tax breaks in development deals. The project would guarantee quality jobs because of a prior agreement between Disney and UNITE HERE Local 11, the union that represents thousands of Disneyland cast members.
The union also expressed displeasure that these agreements were approved by the current city council, which was elected under the at-large system that has produced reliable Republican majorities:
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