America’s leading democratic socialist politician is coming to Anaheim on Friday to rally the left in support of the Coalition of Resort Labor Union’s (CRLU) $18 minimum wage initiative.
Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, who nearly wrested the Democratic presidential nomination from the Clinton machine, will speak at the River Church arena, next to Anaheim City Hall, this Saturday, June 2.
Sanders is an avowed socialist. He is the most far-Left national politician in this country and believes in government direction of economy. For example, he wants the federal government to give every unemployed person a $15 an hour wage with health care benefits. The fact that he is coming out here to campaign for a municipal minimum wage hike, says a lot about the importance progressive Democrats place upon this initiative – which is intended as a tool to turnout Democratic voters and boost efforts to unionize the thousands of non-unionized Resort workers.
This is serve as an unmistakable signal to conservatives, Republicans, moderates and libertarians that this initiative is the tip of the next phase in the progressive Left’s ongoing campaign to take over Anaheim city politics.
The initiative is sponsored by the Coalition of Resort Labor Unions – led by the militant UNITE-HERE Local 11 hotel workers union – and will presumably qualify for the November ballot. The pro-initiative campaign will serve as a Democratic voter turnout campaign that will significantly, negatively impact Republican fortunes in key races such as the 39th Congressional District (assuming a Democrat makes the run-off), the 4th Supervisor District and the Anaheim mayoral contest. Loss of those seats would be a body blow to the GOP already tenuous position in north-central Orange County.
If approved by voters in November, the CRLU initiative almost immediately boosts the minimum hourly wage from $11 to $15 at Resort businesses that benefit, directly and indirectly, from economic assistance from the city. Every January 1, the minimum is hiked another dollar until hitting $18 an hour in 2020. It also builds in an automatic annual cost-of-living increase – so the minimum wage will automatically increase each year, even during recessions when businesses suffer downturns.
The initiative also turns the Anaheim City Manager into a labor relations officer charged with arbitrating labor disputes in the Resort – giving the unions an even greater incentive to try and dominate Anaheim city government.
The initiative is worded so vaguely, so broadly that a leading election attorney recently characterized it as “a litigation bonanza.“ The initiative states the higher minimum wage also applies to businesses which are merely “affiliated” or “adjacent” to a business that receives some form of city assistance. That vagueness is an invitation for the Resort unions to use the threat of litigation to intimidate those businesses into unionizing. The pitch: “Fight and expensive court battle with us that you may lose and wind up paying your workers $18 an hour with a permanent inflationary escalator built-in. Or allow us to unionize your workers on less economically damaging terms.”
This would serve as organizing tool for UNITE-HERE Local 11 and other Resort unions. More members means more dues money the unions can spend on electing progressive Democrats in Orange County. In Anaheim, UNITE-HERE Local 11 only represent a minority of Resort hotel workers (those at the Anaheim Hilton, the Sheraton Park Hotel and three Disney hotels). It hopes the $18 minimum wage initiative will change that and help add thousands of dues-paying members to its rolls.
Last year, UNITE-HERE Local 11 spent $160,000 to qualify a referendum on the development agreement of a luxury hotel that didn’t agree to unionization. This year, Local 11 and the other Resort unions spent another $160,000 to qualify the $18 minimum wage initiative. Add thousands more Resort workers to their dues structures, and there will emerge in Orange County a situation analogous to the mighty hotel unions of Las Vegas that form the basis of Democratic political power in Nevada.
UNITE-HERE Local 11 would use it’s augmented organizational and financial resources to ramp up it’s political activities in Anaheim, Garden Grove and north-central Orange County. In the last few years, it has already succeeded in ditching the at-large council election system that favored Republicans in favor of the by-district system that’s created a pathway to a Democratic council majority. UNITE-HERE’s efforts are responsible for the narrow 2016 council election of Jose F. Moreno – the most left-wing Democratic politician in Orange County. Moreno and other progressive union allies are building a farm system grooming progressive candidates for school boards and city councils in central OC.
The upshot is the implications of the CRLU’s $18 minimum wage initiative go beyond bumping the minimum pay of Resort workers – as counter-productive as the economics are. It is part of a broader project to re-structure Orange County along progressive political lines.