OC Register Opposes Union $18 Minimum Wage Initiative

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[This editorial was originally published by the OC Register on March 7, 2018]

A proposed ballot initiative requiring Disneyland Resort and any large hospitality business receiving subsidies from the city of Anaheim to pay an $18 minimum wage seeks to wrongly involve government in a situation that could use less government involvement.

Because, whatever valid criticisms there are to make of Disney and subsidies generally, the minimum wage won’t solve the problems proponents want solved.

Introduced last week amid contentious contract negotiations between Disney and unions representing Disney employees, the initiative looks to use the whims of the public and the force of government as a means of extracting what hasn’t been voluntarily agreed to between private employers and private employees.

The ballot measure is the culmination of several months of efforts by the unions and Disney critics to cast Disney as an especially egregious employer that underpays employees and doesn’t contribute its “fair share” to Anaheim.

In recent months, critics have worked to frame Disney as particularly responsible for, among other things, addressing the high cost of living in Orange County, poverty in the city and even Anaheim’s large unfunded pension liabilities.

As we argued in an editorial last year, these problems are not unique to Anaheim and Orange County, nor are they one company’s burden to resolve. But that’s what the unions want the public to believe.

“We are not attacking Disney,” said Christopher Duarte, president of Workers United Local 50. “But if taxpayers are going to subsidize a large corporation, then that corporation should pay a living wage and not contribute to poverty.”

Criticism of taxpayer subsidies to Disney and other companies are well deserved, but to argue that one inappropriate government intervention justifies further intrusions leads us down the wrong path and does nothing to resolve underlying problems.

We can’t ignore the vast amount of research on the impacts of forcible minimum wage hikes. While those fortunate to remain employed might see the benefits of higher pay, many could see reduced work hours. Others will never get hired in the first place.

The proposed initiative seeks to burden employers for the failings of state and local government to make California a thriving, affordable place to live and work.

20 comments

  1. What people consider a living wage is up for them to decide. If the wages are too low the will move on or up to a better paying job. These employers do not want high turnover.

  2. I John armstrong

    A raise in pay would be a HUGE PR move for Disney and would silence the critics complaints of them not being good neighbors, giving back to their community after recording record profits as well as the millions of dollars of subsidies given them by Anaheim. Disney would once agin be a highly sought after place to work. Times up.

  3. Larry Herschler

    How about the gas companies lower the price of gas? No one seems to care about their profits. Lowering the cost $1.00 per gallon would give everybody an immediate raise. How about sports teams lowering the price of tickets or their outrageous salaries to the players. Disney is a private business and what they pay is their business. People want to work thete. If, as I said earlier, if you own a business, look at what you pay your employees. Be glad Disney is here. How many of you worked there or had kids that did? Not defending them, but this initiative should not be on the ballot. Maybe the employees will strike like West Virginia teachers?

  4. Gordon Mitchell

    Right on Larry. The city fathers need to take better care of Anaheim and stay out of business affaires . They have safety issues to monitor but that is it.

  5. Brend Magallanes

    Again put the burden on employers and take away an incentive for an employee to try and earn their way up. How about lowering gasoline prices as Larry said, get rid of the union and all their dues they charge employees… and if you’re not happy go look and work towards a better job….it use to be the American way…..

  6. Ya! Well 18 bucks and hr doesn’t pay for shit I love how corporations have chewed up the little guy and no one baulks my kids work 2-3 jobs just to survive in cali. People are an Asset just like a car it can’t keep going without maintaining it people are the same they need insurance and insurance companies need to mellow out on gouging the people. So you just want to give them a wage well then it needs to include the cost of insurance

  7. At least the Register is consistent about government interfering in business, unlike this blog that whoops and hollers for crony capitalism and opposes guarantees that everybody gets to feed at the trough – employers and employees alike.

    • Warren, I’m not trying to convince you to support the Hotel Incentive Policy. But there is an enormous difference – not just in degree, but in kind – between the now-repealed HIP and the proposed $18-hour minimum wage. For starters, the former is an incentive: no one is required to participate, and not a dime of TOT is rebated until the participating hotel is up and running. The union proposal is a government mandate; it’s ex post facto coercion.

      And if you think the unions intend to stop with enterprises that benefit from a broadly-defined subsidy, then you have your head in the sand.

  8. Any sensible business owner and corporate executive that uses P&L to manage the business, more than likely opposes $15-$18 minimum wage. It forces management to evaluate the hourly employee work product/value and expansion plans against payroll costs and depreciable capital expenditure cost of technology; which doesn’t gripe about hours, health care, doesn’t take sick days and doesn’t expect overtime or cause personnel problems or suppress expansion plans.

    NOBODY is entitled to live in any city or area that costs more than they earn. Just like not everyone can afford to drive a 100k car. A practical person knows to live where they can afford to ensure a quality of life. If a person thinks they are entitled to live in expensive areas and want excessively high hourly wages and or costly union presence and dues to do so, forcing an hourly job to appear career like, then prepare yourself for ongoing critical evaluation and possible unemployment. I’ve seen downsizing or loss of jobs too many times, having founded and run a near forty year North American Human Resources Consulting company that provides services to different fortune 1000 clients down to start-ups.

  9. I, and my family of four, have been a DL AP for a decade, now. And I’ve seen the prices of tix, food, and merch soar to where I pay almost 3k for our APs that aren’t even top of the line passes! Disney can well afford the wage increase, they’ll just raise there prices again. Since they answer to shareholders, anyway, they’ll use the wage increase as a means to doublethe percentage they were due to increase, in the first place. It’s hard to sympathize with a corporation who makes BILLIONS of dollars, being asked to pay a minimum wage of $18/hr it’s workers.

  10. This proposition is targeting the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim.

    Why don’t we target Amazon, who supposedly didn’t pay taxes last year?

    Pass a bill saying Amazon must raise the wages to $3 more than all their competitors. Let all the retail stores still be allowed to pay the state minimum wage (except Whole Foods, which charges more for their items, so they should pay more).

    Why do the citizens have the right to tell someone else how to run their business?

    The union has the right to strike if they don’t like the offer that Disney is offering as a pay package. If Disney feels there are enough job applicants willing to accept the wage package without being in the union, then Disney should have the freedom to say no to the union. The Union is not running the business, it seems all they want is higher dues to pad their current company. And aren’t most unions just that, a separate company?

    https://www.unionfacts.com/lu/507066/UNITHE/11/

    Anyone who gets a city subsidy from the city of Anaheim, entered into a deal with the city, where both parties were looking to get something. For example, the city was looking for someone who would invest in the city, provide jobs, help improve the cities infrastructure, reducing pollution and traffic concerns, draw customers who would not just spend at the one business, but many other businesses in the city, bringing in additional tax dollars in increased spending, etc. The companies agreed to what the city was asking for, and a signed contract was made between the two parties, and agreed to by the city council and/or the citizens. (Such as the vote in the 1990’s agreeing to the TOT increase).

    Now, one side wants to change the contract. (What many would say is binding).

    So what is the Fair Share a company has to pay a city?

    And then who loses? Many pension funds rely on their investment in Disney to pay benefits to its employees…. California Public Employees’ Retirement System, New York State Common Retirement Fund, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Pension Plan, Washington; and Illinois State Board of Investment, are four major shareholders.

    So does the city of Anaheim have the right to reduce the pensions of those who work in Sacramento, or since the pensions are guaranteed, making all California taxpayers pay more to benefit Anaheim?

    Yes, many Disney jobs are entry level and designed for someone who is a student, a retiree, a second income, etc. The jobs are not meant to be the sole source of income for a family. They are designed for those who want more flexible hours, learn skills, build up a resume by showing good work habits as showing up on time, following rules, etc. Then that person can opt to pursue other options, such as moving up into management (83 percent of salaried employees at the parks division rise from hourly positions), getting a college degree, going to trade school, finding a job in another industry, etc.

    Alas, to the Union, that means they lose the member if they go into management or leave the company, something that they don’t want.

    So basically the citizens are telling a company that they shouldn’t offer these type of jobs, and only offer full-time positions with lots of responsibilities, and even if they fail fulfilling those job requirements which include promoting the health of the company and making more profits for the investors, that they can not be fired due to the union.

    Also, who comes up with the standard of a “living wage”. Does everybody have the right to have a smart phone, a nice car, their own apartment without roommates or a partner to share in the costs, $200 pair of shoes, an unlimited moviepass, Netflix, Hula, etc.

    People do things to start their career, many pick the military since they offer benefits as education, and being taught job skills. Some opt for college to get a degree, some opt for a trade school to learn a trade in professions like the building trades, or the medical field.

    Should we have some sort of tired wage program, where those students under a certain age, where they are still expected to live with their family (18, 25?) are eligible for a lower wage, how about a senior already getting pension and/or social security checks, how about the second partner who opted to have a child, and only wants a part time second income to go along with raising a child.

    Maybe anyone who wants to be a professional athlete or a movie celebrity should get a higher wage, no matter their skill level?

    How about giving everyone a house on the ocean?

    America and the Constitution is about freedoms and the right to achieve the American Dream. But that means those willing to work hard, take risks, can get rewarded for their achievements. By earning those achievements do you get the nice car, house, lifestyle.

    That is why people take risks, such as trying to be a professional athlete, a professional singer, a head of a business, a doctor, a general contractor, etc.

    Companies like Disney also take risks, not every movie or TV show is a hit, nor is everything a Theme Park offers is a hit (think California Adventure in the first 5 years and EuroDisney, etc.) Walt Disney bet the “farm” multiple times. and he struck out more than once. But he picked himself up, and tried again until he got it right.

    Disneyland could have easily failed, and many folks thought that it would. When Walt was proven right, a lot of folks came on board, both directly and in-directly to help improve the park, and the surrounding area. The city of Anaheim decided to join that group in the 1960’s and opted to grow the Tourism base in the 1960’s, starting with the Convention Center, then professional Sports Teams, and the need for Hotels, restaurants, shops to support them. Add laundry service, food distributors, construction companies, transportation needs, etc. All creating jobs and tax revenue and growing the city. That brought new Hospitals, Housing, shops and services to support those things, etc.

    The city revenues have been going up and up, especially in the last decade or so due to those investment in the Resort area and Tourism. But for some reason, the city has decided to spend at a higher amount than the increased revenues. And those who want the government to spend more now wants to take away from those who also invested, worked hard, and built the growth in income and jobs that they created.

    So the city got what they wanted from the city subsides, and are continuing to do so. I live in West Anaheim, and our section of Beach Boulevard is not very nice, especially compared to the Buena Park section that has Knott’s Berry Farm, the hotels, the Dinner Theaters, the upcoming Butterfly Pavilion and new Source Shoppertainment Mall. There are plans to improve it, but it will require city subsidies to get it done. (Similar to what Buena Park did over the last couple of decades to improve its section of Beach Blvd.)

    But for some reason, the Unions along with some city of Anaheim leaders, want to try and punish those who agreed to work with the city to achieve those goals, and force everyone to become a union employee in those areas, such as the Hotels.

    Unions should be an option, not a requirement. Employees should be offered a chance to Unionize, but also have the option to not join, especially when a large percentage of union dues are spent on political activities, which many union employees do not support.

    The proposed proposition if passed would cause many lawsuits, and could end up costing the city so much that it could force it into bankruptcy (repayment of costs in voiding contracts made). Where would that leave the city of Anaheim?

    The proposal is so wrong on so many levels, but is mainly a political play to try and change the political climate in not just the city, but the region. And none of it would help the issues we face in homelessness, lack of housing, need for more and better roads, rising pension liabilities, need for more criminal prosecution and the ability to place those who need to be placed in jails and prisons, etc.

    I have always believed in Working Hard to be able to play hard, I have always worked, from my first legal job at 12, at $1 an hour in a approved job with specific hours, and have never stopped working while also gaining my education including college. I have worked multiple jobs, and 80 hour work weeks are normal for me. I have earned a nice life, and get to enjoy it. But there are those who now want to take more and more from me in taxes and government fees. Plus they want to also cut down on my ability to drive, change my housing situation, reduce my investment income, which I have planned on to live the rest of my life, have me spend more on private security measures due to increased crime. I am paying more and getting less.

    But you can’t have “starting wage” be a true “living wage” . A basic wage should be that, something that covers the very basic things. And for those who want a living wage, well, they can learn a skill that would earn one. A plumber might not be glamorous, might not be a fun job, but it is a needed profession, and gets the wage it deserves.

  11. If you don’t like how much you are paid, go get a better job.
    If no one will give you a better job, then you are being paid what you are worth.

  12. Steve Jobs was the major shareholder in Disney. Then his widow.. some sort of reporting shenanigans had her sell about half. No comment on buyer. Those unions are ridiculous

  13. All of you sound like a bunch of southern plantation owner bellowing over how much it cost to take care of your “slaves” or in this case “slave wages”. We are back to the GOLDEN RULE Disney is a 200 billion entity

  14. “THOSE WITH THE GOLD MAKES THE RULES ” this is the biggest threat to “DEMOCRACY”. What happen to “a honest day of work for a honest day wages”. Don’t you know how this even came about? I doubt it very serious because close minds means “nothing get out but nothing get in”. They never had a coalition of union ever in DISNEYLAND history and now their’s a need for them to come together to survive. DISNEYLAND was trying to pick them off one by one trying to bust the union with horrific and unlawful acts against their employees. Including employees hurt on the job had to go to the Dr. after work on their own time, insisting that smile at all times because this was the happiest place on earth. What bought this to a boiling point was when DISNEYLAND offer the ladies/workers cleaning their hotel rooms a DOLLAR raise for 4 years. “REALLY” 25 CENT A YEAR and you are backing DISNEY.Those little ladies pushing those 3 to 4 hundreds pounds carts and some of them been working for 15 YEARS and only making 14 dollars a hour. DISNEYLAND was breaking the unions while other counter part working at other hotel are making 3 to 5 dollars a hour. DISNEYLAND WANTED TO BREAK ALL THE UNION WITH A FOOT ON THE NECK MADE THEM TO COME TOGETHER. Backing DISNEYLAND You really sound like you don’t know what you are talking about or you must be a Communist. DISNEYLAND has never paid one penny on a gate tax EVER in about 60 years robbing the city of Anaheim of millions of dollars. Now that our orange President with the yellow hair (y’all talk about Obama, but he didn’t married a Russia spy) gave as he said ” I make all of my friends richer”. The disparity between the rich and the poor have grown causing a greater division in our society. DISNEYLAND told everyone through the news because of the tax gave all employees a thousand dollar BONUS. NOT TRUE because they held it up for these workers until they sign a union agreement. The America flag which we as a nation we pledge to everyday, the principle’s that it stands for is FREEDOM, LIBERTY, and JUSTICE. ON the backs of the employees DISNEYLAND has made its highest profits with double tax breaks from Federal and Anaheim city. I hope it does led to a lot of law suit so we as residents can amend the ban gate tax. ANAHEIM RESIDENT WE ARE NOT STUPID JUST MISINFORMED

  15. KB: Most Disneyland jobs are not meant to be career jobs. If those working at Disneyland do not feel they are paid enough, stop complaining and do something about it, like change jobs. Simple, problem solved if they feel down the road there is an opportunity to earn more then by all means go. If they don’t want to smile – go. There will be someone behind those complainers to take their jobs, there always is. As such it is a high turn over type of job. If anyone thinks they are going to support their families on the wage earned at Disneyland they are woefully mistaken. It doesn’t take long to figure it out once there either. why don’t you examine the union and how much they charge to represent those low increases. Does their representation merit all the funds they take from those working there? Is the 25 cents an hour raise spoken of previously worth the dues? Now think of how much return each employee gets on their investment when paying union dues. Think of how much the unions are taking in on each employee. Don’t blame Disney they are not forcing those employed to apply and continue to work there, the employees choose to work/stay working there.

  16. The money for the Mickey and Friends parking structure came from transportation grants.

    Federal contribution was $17.5 million. The state of California tossed in $60 million and Orange County paid $36 million. That is $113.5 million, the total cost of the Mickey and Friends structure was $110 million, the rest was spent on Disneyland Drive improvements. Not one cent of Anaheim city money was used for the construction.

    Here are the details on how the Parking Structure was paid for without city funding…

    http://www.yesterland.com/westcot2.html

  17. OK, I have been reading the proposed initiative again, and this paragraph catches my eye.

    >>
    6.99.020. SERVICE CHARGES PAID TO EMPLOYEES RENDERING SERVICE. Service charges shall not be retained by an Employer but shall be paid in the entirety by the Employer to the Employee(s) performing services for the customers from whom the service charges are collected.

    No part of these amounts may be paid to supervisory or managerial Employees. The amounts shall be paid to the Employee(s) equitably and according to the services that are or appear to be related to the description of the amounts given by the Employer to the customers.

    The amounts shall be paid to the Employee(s) in the next payroll following collection of an amount from the customer. This subsection does not apply to any tip, gratuity, money, or part of any tip, gratuity, or money that has been paid or given to or left for an Employee by customers over and above the actual amount due for services rendered or for goods, food, drink, or articles sold or served to the customer. <<

    I understand that the tip belongs to the employee, but for a server, I expect that they should be sharing them with the busser and cook who worked with them. Management shouldn't get any of it.

    But the unions keep bringing up these poor Hotel Maids. Well, to me, the Maid is a tipped position. So if a made is expected to clean 15 rooms a day. (2 rooms a hour, and a break in a 8 hour day) Let's say that the average tip is $5, so that is an additional $75 per day, or about $10 more per hour than the wage paid. Plus for most folks, that tip money is not reported on the tax return, and therefore no taxes of any kind are taken out (nor are union dues). But even if that get half of that, that is still at the livable wage the unions talk about. Plus maids are left non-cash gifts all the time, such as items bought for the trip(think a stroller) and they don't want to take home. A note is left with the item(s).

    Why shouldn't the government take into consideration all types of income earned on the job to determine if a person is making a living wage? Federal law allows tip income to be a consideration in calculating wages and meeting the minimum requirements. (California does not). But if we are talking amount over minimum wage, why shouldn't we look at all sources a person has to live on?

    How much extra does a Valet, Bell Hop or Server make an hour? Do they need the additional amount in this proposition for a "Living Wage". How can you support this unfair issue, where you are making those already at the higher amount being mandated to pay more….

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