The militant hotel workers union UNITE-HERE’s circulators are busily trying to gather signatures in an attempt to qualify a city-wide referendum on the development agreements approved last month by the Anaheim City Council for the two 4-Diamond hotels proposed by the Wincome Group.
And they are willing to say anything to get voters to sign their petitions.
A reader encountered a UNITE-HERE circulator this weekend and wrote down the exchange, which we’ll share here. Keep in mind that the proposed referendum has nothing to do with Disneyland or Disney’s proposed 4-Diamond hotel project. Nor does it, technically, pertain to the TOT tax rebate agreements with either the Wincome Group or Disney:
Voter: So what are you gathering signatures for?
UNITE-HERE Circulator: To get Disney to pay the taxes.
Voter: What taxes?
UNITE-HERE Circulator: The hotel taxes. It’s simple, either Disney pays the taxes or you pay the taxes.
Voter: The hotel taxes? Why would I pay hotel taxes?
UNITE-HERE Circulator: Are you a homeowner?
UNITE-HERE Circulator: So then you’re paying the taxes. Don’t you think Disney should be paying the taxes instead?
Voter: As a homeowner, I pay property taxes, not hotel taxes. Is Disney going to pay my property taxes?
UNITE-HERE Circulator: Look, it’s simple. Either you pay the taxes or Disney pays the taxes.
Voter: Hotels pay transient occupancy taxes, and what you’re really trying to gather signatures for is a referendum that would overturn the city’s policy to rebate 70% of the TOT for new 4 star hotels, and take away the incentive that was just granted to two hotels. Homeowners don’t pay TOT, so you’re providing false information to signers to make them think that they are somehow paying taxes that Disney should otherwise pay.
It’s also important to note that UNITE-HERE already represents workers at Disney’s Anaheim hotels, and its collective bargaining agreement guarantees it will also represent workers at the new Disney property. The union was also careful not to criticize the development agreement and TOT tax rebate agreement which the city council approved last month – which makes it that much more interesting that UNITE-HERE has decided the best strategy for gathering signatures is to target Disney, feed voters the lie that the referendum is about making Disney pay taxes (when, in fact, it pays more taxes than any other entity in Anaheim) and try to fool them into thinking it’s about Disney paying taxes or “us” paying taxes.
This is not an isolated incident: Anaheim Blog has received other reports of UNITE-HERE circulators using lies and deception convince voters to sign the referendum petition. The union’s dishonest tactic is all the more deplorable because it is employed in an attempt to blackmail a private company into forcing its employees to become UNITE-HERE members.