UPDATED: Union-Sponsored $18 Minimum Wage Initiative Targets Anaheim Resort Businesses

union living wage rally AB feat

A coalition of unions is seeking to qualify a city-wide initiative forcing any Anaheim hospitality business that receives a “subsidy” to increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour on January 1, 2019, escalating a $1 per year until hitting $18 per hour by January 2022.  After that, targeted business must increase their minimum annually by either 2% or by the Consumer Price Index for the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The union coalition cited a study which it funded to bolster claims that Disney can afford to adopt a $20 wage floor.

The Coalition of Resort Labor Unions (CRLU) unveiled the initiative to a crowd of at least 700 members in a packed ballroom at the Sheraton Park Hotel, one of the few unionized hotels in the Anaheim Resort.  Anaheim’s progressive Left was there in force. Councilman Jose F. Moreno was there grinning like a Cheshire cat, as were union activists and school board members Al Jabbar, Ryan Ruelas and Jose Paolo Magcalas – his political wingmen. Magcalas brought students from the Ethnic Studies class he teaches as Loara High School.  Liberal Democrat mayoral candidates Ashleigh Aitken and Lorri Galloway sat front and center. The union candidate for 4th Supervisor District, Joe Kerr, prowled the perimeter of the room gathering signatures for his candidate papers.

Galloway had this to later: “I was there to listen to the issues.  I am not taking a position. I am also meeting with Disney this week to listen to their position. As a mayoral candidate,  I believe it is not my position to get involved with wage negotiations. Both business and labor need each other to survive and to thrive. I will work with both to achieve the best.”

Sometime progressive allies and council gadflies Cynthia Ward and Victoria Michaels were there. Both are registered Republicans and Ward has thrown her hat into the mayoral ring.

The event was emceed by Jennifer Beuthin, the six-figure salaried general manager of the Orange County Employees Association – which also represents Anaheim city employees. Beuthin was in full-proletarian mode, inveighing against corporate greed and denouncing Disney as “disgusting.” She introduced the authors of the study – paid for by CRLU – that calls for a $20 per hour wage floor for workers in the Anaheim Resort.

They were followed by two Disneyland employees who blamed Disney for their precarious financial situation. They were followed by series of union leaders who poured out heated anti-Disney, class-warfare rhetoric. One union speaker mocked the $1,000 bonuses the company had recently announced for its employees in the wake of the Republican tax cut: “Are any of you planning to go to Europe?”

This was all build-up to UNITE-HERE Local 11 co-president Ada Briceno announcing the aforementioned $18 minimum wage initiative.

She was joined at podium by Anaheim High School student Alexandra Retana. Retana is president of CROWN – a progressive student political club formed and moderated by Ruelas and used as campaign foot soldiers by him, Moreno, Jabbar and their union allies. She is also a Moreno appointee to the city’s Youth Commission, newly created at Moreno’s behest. Anaheim voters can count on seeing “Anaheim Youth Commissioner Vice Chair Alexandra Retana” on political mailers promoting the union initiative should it qualify for the ballot.

Renata claimed authority to speak on behalf of city student population: “I’m here today because Anaheim students support Disney workers all the way!”

Don’t be surprised to see discussion of the union initiative surface on an Anaheim Youth Commission agenda in the near future.

Magical Thinking About Government Dictating Wages
Briceno, Beuthin and others union leaders presented the initiative as a boon for their members, but the reality is it deeply flawed economic policy and poor politics.

Years of studies have established these politically-driven “living wage” laws kill jobs. The CRLU-funded report, however, claims this dramatic minimum wage increase from $10.50 to $18.00 will actually increase job creation and local tax revenue.  The authors of the study base their claim on discredited Keynesian thinking straight out of the 1930s. If that demand-side, prime-the-pump economics worked, the trillion dollar Obama “stimulus” spending package would have ignited an economic boom.

This is magical thinking. When government fiats artificially increase the cost of labor, what you get is fewer jobs. When Briceno, Beuthin and the others stand before their members and tell them otherwise, they are feeding them lies and false hope. If they had been honest with their members, they would have told them, “If this measure passes, some of you will make more money. Some of you will get fewer hours. And some of you will lose your jobs.”  Investors in workplace automation will certainly appreciate CRLU’s effort to increase the price of labor.

Union leaders claim a government-mandated wage hike is necessary due to the high cost of housing and other life necessities, while ignoring the reason for the high cost: counter-productive government policies they and their progressive allies in state government have been promulgating for years. Government mandates created this problem, and we’re supposed to believe another government mandate will fix it? If CRLU leaders are serious about addressing the issues faced by their members, they’ll push their allies to repeal policies that inihibit the private sector from creating sufficient housing, and misguided legislation like the recent increase in the gas tax and vehicle license fee that erode the purchasing power of poor and working families.

What Is The Union’s Real Target?
There was a surface disconnect between the union study and the union initiative. The study’s authors and the union leaders directed their rhetorical fire at Disneyland and its parent corporation, and the rank-and-file testimonials were from park employees. However, the initiative itself – at least outwardly – seems to target recently approved 4-Diamond hotel projects.

Why then did Beuthin, Briceno, Workers United Local 50 President Chris Duarte and others reserve their attacks for Disney? Why does the union-sponsored study mentions the hotel projects only in passing to focus almost entirely on Disney’s Anaheim theme parks – which do not receive subsidies – claiming the company can easily afford to adopt a wage floor of $20 per hour? For that matter, if – as the study claims – one must earn $23 an hour to afford life’s necessities in Orange County; and if Disney can afford a $20 wage floor, then why is the union only gunning for an $18 minimum wage? If the CRLU believes a $23 hourly wage is necessary for living here, then how can it say a $15 or $18 hour;y wage is a “living wage”?

Union Initiative Broadly Defines Who Qualifies As A Subsidy Recipient
As noted, the union initiative restricts – for now – the $18 minimum wage to Anaheim hospitality businesses that receive a “city subsidy.“ However, the initiative defines that category well beyond just the five 4-Diamond hotel projects that have signed economic assistance agreements with Anaheim.  According to the initiative language, the minimum wage hike applies to not only to the business entity that actually receives the city subsidy, but also to their contractors, subcontractors, lessees and sublessees, tenants and subtenants.  Every merchant in Downtown Disney or the troubled GardenWalk mall, for example, would be hit with a huge minimum wage increase.  One can make a strong case the $18 minimum wage mandate would apply to the heavily-subsidized Anaheim Packing House and its tenants.

The initiative’s definition of a “city subsidy” goes well beyond TOT tax rebates to include sales tax, entertainment tax, property tax or “other taxes, presently or in the future, matured or unmatured.” It also turns the City Manager into a labor relations cop charged with policing wage disputes that would arise from the initiative’s implementation.

The union initiative also raises legal questions. The economic assistance agreements between the city and developers of the participating 4-Diamond hotel projects are legal contracts. If the city acts to unilaterally change the terms, it would be in breach of contract; Councilman Moreno said as much on an online radio program earlier this week. Yet, that is what the union initiative would do. It’s immaterial if the change is made by the voters rather than the city council, because approval of this ballot measure would be the voters directly exercising the city council’s legislative powers. A breach is a breach, whether done by the council or the voters.

Whether or not one supported or opposed the Hotel Incentive Policy, targeting certain Anaheim businesses with an $18 minimum is bad economics and lousy public policy. But if one thinks government shouldn’t target certain types of businesses with tax rebates, one should also be opposed to government dictating wages. And anyone who thinks the unions plan on stopping at businesses that have economic assistance agreements with the city is living in dreamland. If passed, it will be the camel’s nose under the tent – part of a long-term strategy to turn the thousands of non-unionized Anaheim Resort area workers into dues-paying union members.

About 40-50 unionists gathered in front of Anaheim City Hall yesterday before marching to the City Clerk’s office to file their initiative. This battle will go a long way toward determining whether Anaheim will continue to be a freedom-friendly governed by an ethos of removing government obstacles to economic growth, or morph into progressive political outpost of Los Angeles.


  1. We have already stopped going out to dinner because it’s gotten too expensive. The only way the restaurants can manage to pay those higher wages is to raise prices. Then… less people go out to eat, restaurants close, less employees would get the higher wage.
    Can any of you average folk afford to eat out?
    It doesn’t work.

    • From what I see when dining out, most of the patrons seem to be average family folks, which amazes me. Today “average” people spend considerably higher amounts of money on eating out, as opposed to when I was younger. Maybe that’s contributory to the nations excessive credit card debt, not sure. Here’s a question that should be asked; how many can even cook? Lol IMO Where the disconnect may be happening is thinking the rising cost of food influences their patronage downward, across the board. It does but only regarding high-end restaurants.

      If that ludicrous wage hike gets traction, mid-low-priced restaurant owners will be compelled to look at operational expenses compared to fixed payroll costs and re-evaluate work product of all employees; union and others. Guess who loses… At some juncture, if owners want to stay in business, employees are likely to be replaced by a form of technology. No work product concerns, payroll costs, workmanscomp or union issues to deal with; just a capital expenditure that gets depreciated and shows up for work every day. Another example of liberal leadership, using the body part they sit on to make decisions.

      A possible reason why Anaheim city needs JMAC for Mayor. He understands the importance of Resort area hotels to Anaheim’s overall revenue stream.

  2. Disney just raised entry prices again and will do it to maintain profit. One basic rule in life is if you need more money get out of the job your in nobody is holding you to it.

  3. Disney and hotel developers get special treatment, why not the lowly workers, too? A four diamond maid makes the same as a three diamond maid.

    See how it goes?

  4. Larry Herschler

    Whatever happened to beginning jobs? Disney, for most workers, is not supposed to be a main wage earners position. It is not supposed to be a life long job. Why is only Disney getting hammered? Yes, they make a lot of money, but that is the American way. It is called Capitalism. Should they pay more is a different question. How about any business that any of you might own? look at what you pay your employees. How many of you enjoy the Packing House? How many of the businesses there pay “a living wage?” In fact look at any business in Anaheim, do any of them pay living wages to their employees? Let the folks have their say, the initiative will not make the ballot and it will blow over as all of Disney contracts do. I guess I should not be surprised, Disney salaries have been in the news forever. I still say blessings to them. Otherwise Anaheim would be a stepping stone for Los Angeles. Some of you maybe happy that the Ducks and Angels would not be here. Or the struggling and poorly designed Garden Walk, or the over priced bus station. But I for one am pretty pleased with Anaheim and Disney.

    • There are no beginning jobs there are just jobs now all companies have no loyalty to anyone its not a manufacturing, product atmosphere its all service oriented. Kids come out of school to a big debt and no way to pay it off and need over 120,000 thou a year just to get buy.

  5. Dan Chmielewski

    My understanding is that the Tait majority has only approved 8% of the affordable housing program with a huge backup in approving housing

  6. We love the Packing House and Disneyland.
    We are average, and can’t afford either. Not a couple but certainly not for a family. It’s craft beers and h’or d’oeuvre’s at home. Sorry, but it just isn’t affordable anymore. I know we aren’t alone.

  7. Let’s develop Anaheim Hills where Tait lives. That is where the land is. Let’s put the affordable housing, zero lot line there. Why not?

  8. Yes!! Great idea, but even Taits moving outta here.

  9. Where is Tait moving too? I would love to know his plans. Anyone? He is awful so where he goes should be warned.

  10. Anaheim area resident

    Laguna I believe, definitely south county

  11. I remember saying there is no way people are going to pull their car up to a Kiosk and pump there own gas as opposed to an owner of a gas station paying me $3.85/hr to run out to a car, pump their gas, check the tires, and look under the hood.

    As soon as the people however saw they could actually pay less for gas because of less overhead I was out of a job and my first experience with automation Vs human interaction.

    These Hotels are going to do they same thing and do everything they can to keep their prices down. McDonalds etc. are already trying automated orders at kiosks.

    Even If the hotel owners have to pay the increased wages it still gets passed on to me as a consumer. And since my wages are not increased almost two fold like these are, I’m not able to pay more for something that used to cost me less. Therefore there are less sales and less sales leads to less employees.

    Here is how I thought this worked: You find someone to give you your first job since you have no skills and you slowly build from there. These are entry level jobs. Once you build your skills you move on and ask for more money as your skills and efficiency improve assuming you are working hard. You don’t stay at $10.00/hr for 10 years unless of course it is by choice.

    Perhaps there is an argument that these workers do not have the support or confidence to advance. Yet, look at DACA. The arguments in favor of DACA are how skilled and improved
    they are and therefore they should not be deported and perhaps rightfully so. However my point is that if they can advance cannot these workers advance as well?

    And finally if Orange County is too high priced to live in is there not always the choice to move? No one is forcing someone to have to live in Orange County California. There is nothing in the constitution prohibiting someone from moving just as there is nothing in the constitution guaranteeing someone a certain minimum wage.

    This cause gives the unions and the politicians who they pay a reason to justify their existence all of which seems very short sited.

    • Yes, I did move but still have to work in Orange county it were I’m from my contacts and history doesn’t always move with you most certainly here in the south we have the good ol boy mentality, which we have any were you go you hire who you know.

  12. Unless your a journalist, a blogger or made a wrong turn, the only reason you go to these rallies is to support the union cause. And now three of our mayoral candidates are at this event supporting this union cause. I note that Harry Sidhu was not there.

    I get it that Galloway and Aikin have got to be there because they are democrats.

    Ward hates Disney so I guess she will take up any cause against Disney even if it is supporting the democratic unions.

    The word on the street by the way is that Victoria Michaels has a leading role in the Ward campaign and has said herself to at least one member of ARA (Anaheim Republican Assembly) that she would be canvassing the streets with Wards campaign signs and helping Ward with her campaign kickoff party.

    Supporting the unions however seems like an OC GOP or ARA violation. (for example, council members who took union money could not receive the OC GOP endorsement even after money was given back).

    But more importantly, who gets the Tait endorsement? One argument is that he must endorse someone since this election is so important but the other side is that he does not have to endorse anyone and by doing so keeps his relationships should he ever want to come back into politics. Ward backed Tait in the pre-majority days even though she was steadfastly against him originally. After 2011 or so she was his champion at the mic and in the blogs.

    Maybe if you find out who Moreno is endorsing for mayor you have an idea who Tait is going to endorse. Someone should ask Moreno if he is endorsing Ward or maybe ask Vanderbilt for that matter. Tait has a large base and his endorsement for mayor, to me, seems like it could swing the election.

  13. Can Moreno use Pro Tem title on the ballot? I knew they discussed it at council meetings but I don’t know what the conclusion was.

    • Of course he can, that’s up to the state, not Kris and Lucille.

      Are you people remembering that Lucille, after all her scolding of Jose, used her old pro-tem title in her Supe announcement. You KNOW she’d do the same on the ballot, if the title were current.

  14. With no real rival, Moreno looks pretty good for D3 reelection, save some kind of sex scandal…………

    • Now that I think about it here is another person running in D3. Someone at the Anaheim Colonist Alumni Breakfast said MITCH CALDWELL is running in D3. I don’t know him but the guy at the breakfast whom everyone here would know but whose name I not going to list here says MITCH CALDWELL is a good guy. I have no idea. I googled him and see he is from SOAR and that is all I know. But I too am getting off topic.

    • Some Daze are Diamonds

      Moreno fully supported disgraced union sexual harasser Julio Perez. Ask him about his brother-in-law

  15. About only person on the topic was J.J. The issue is Disney and their salaries and the Union initiative about these salaries. J.J stated “once you build skills you move on” And basically the same thing I did “About these being first time jobs” not life long jobs. All the other stuff belongs in a different category.

    • Your right. Got to stay focused on the issue that is being written about. I felt the same way but some how got off topic. Thanks for reminder.

  16. Congrats folks. You now will require our city to rebate the increased wages to Disney without the funds from the tax got big to city. Fools. There are so many ways around this hinckey scheme.

  17. Angry District 5 Person

    So, a punitive minimum wage ordinance that targets only specific employers… Hmmm… Aiken, Moreno, Galloway and Ward are asking to embroil the city in another lawsuit.

    Here’s the hotel industry’s answer to a increased wages:

  18. All dem dare liberal thinkers again need to get sized for dunce caps as technology replaces all their naive union due paying employees in many business segments. Yep, I can hear dem monthly union dues going kerplunk followed by union leaders crying as they give up their cushy lifestyles of the no longer bourgeois rich or influential. People can forever trust Democrats and masquerading socialist and communist comrades to show us how to destroy jobs faster than their employee union dues clear the bank. LOL

  19. Gary, I am a liberal or progressive or whatever term you want to use. I was an agency fee payer as a teacher. I believe I have the right to my own opinion and do not necessarily support all union issues. I do not send money to politicians and I do not support this initiative. Private business do what they want. We do not have to support them. I am still waiting for the first oil company to lower prices for the good of the community. Unions serve a purpose, look atWest Virginia. And people if they are not happy about their job, get another. Disney will survive

  20. A government of the people for the people is what we are supposed to have but is that really the case. Has America has forgotten and changed the golden rule of “do under other as you would have them to do on you?, to “those with the gold makes the rules(Disney). The biggest corrupter in OC is disneyland and if they could paid employees 4 dollars a hour they would. In 2016 the Anaheim city council (ACC) at that time was a half million dollars in debt for pension, and 2 years later now is 2 billion. Disney invested a million dollars into Anaheim election and 3 to 2 passed a 30 year exemption against the best interest of the residents of Anaheim. The decisions of the Board of Supervisors in my opinion are not in the interest of citizens of Orange County but in the interest of the rich and not the citizens. Did we forget what our country is supposed to be about or did we forget our history that included EVERYONE. Did we forget what the principles of what my father/military fought and died for? It”s was the simple principles for FREEDOM and OPPORTUNITIES. LIFE, LIBERTY, and the pursuit of HAPPINESS. Give me your tired,your POOR,these, THE POOR,these, the HOMELESS, tempest-tossed to ME. I lift my lamp beside the GOLDEN DOOR. I love America more than I love any other country in the world and for that reason I have earned the right criticize the United States.

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