If $18 Wage Initiative Passes, Wincome To Cancel 2nd Luxury Hotel; Disney Looks At Garden Grove

Bisnow.com is reporting that if the Resort unions’ $18 minimum wage initiative passes, both Wincome Group will cancel its planned 4-Diamond hotel projects in Anaheim, while Disney is in discussions with adjacent Garden Grove about potential hotel projects there.

The move could be a blow to future development in the area. Wincome and Disney have operated in the city for more than 25 and 60 years, respectively, and have plans for more projects as Disneyland expands with Star Wars Land. Wincome Group has approval to build two four-diamond luxury hotels in Anaheim. The Westin is under construction, but the company might not build the second hotel if the measure passes. The second hotel is planned for Harbor Boulevard and Disney Way on a 9-acre lot entitled for 700 rooms.

Wincome Group CEO Paul Sanford addressed the decision at Bisnow’s Future of Anaheim, Placentia and Santa Ana Thursday morning.

Sanford said the way the minimum wage measure is written, anyone associated with luxury hotels that receives city subsidies will also have to raise their employee minimum wage. This could pose a problem for the hotel owners attempting to lure retail brands.

“If this initiative passes, how are you going to convince a national brand or shop to come here with the confusion? It is poorly written and it could be interpreted that it could affect businesses adjacent to the subsidized hotel.”

A Disney spokeswoman said the company is in discussions with the nearby city of Garden Grove about possible future hotel projects and other developments.

“Anaheim has become an increasingly hostile business environment, which is disappointing given our investments have created thousands of jobs and driven millions of tax dollars into the city,” Disneyland Resort spokesperson Lisa Haines said in a statement. “While Orange County will always be our home, the company has a choice on where it will invest and we are in active conversations about moving a wide range of investments elsewhere given the challenging dynamics.”

You can read the entire article here.

But wait – haven’t  initiative proponents told us over and over that Disney and Wincome will proceed with their luxury hotels even if the $18 minimum wage measure passes?

Is anyone really surprised? Business prefer pro-business locales over hostile business environments. Garden Grove us right next to the Disneyland Resort and the Anaheim Convention. Propose a 4-Diamond hotel development there and the city rolls out the red carpet. In Anaheim it gets you harassed from the council dais and by Resort unions empowered by their allies on the council dais.

Wincome and Disney participated in a TOT rebate program established by the city council and open to all 4-Diamond hotel projects that met certain criteria. Since then, UNITE-HERE Local 11 qualified a referendum on the development agreement for Wincome’s Westin Hotel project. Why? Because Wincome decided against having UNITE-HERE unionize its workforce. Now, Wincome has to fight an expensive citywide political campaign to protect its development agreement.

Councilman Jose F. Moreno accuses them of creating poverty and joins Mayor Tom Tait in telling residents these luxury hotel projects are harmful to the city and hurt their neighborhoods.

UNITE-HERE and its union allies compensate for their failure at the negotiating table by promoting an $18 minimum wage initiative that spikes the cost of operating a hotel, opening doors to anti-business litigation and turning Anaheim city government into the unions’ enforcer.

Why invest a billion dollars in a development project in increasingly hostile and chaotic Anaheim when one can develop the same project down the street from Disneyland in business-friendly, welcoming Garden Grove?

This isn’t rocket science – but apparently it is for the Coalition of Resort Labor Unions.

3 comments

  1. Garden Grove…where Tait has business ties.

    We are built up enough there anyways, work on west Anaheim instead.
    How about Beach blvd?

    The only thing the city gave them was a green fence no one asked for.

  2. LArry Herschler

    Maybe Rainforest Cafe won’t close. It won’t pass so I am not to worried. Unite -here seems to be non uniting anyone. San Francisco has $16, seems like a decent figure to work towards.

  3. Disney just offered its non-tipped employees $15 per hour, plus increased benefits in a new contract.

    UniteHERE, who mostly represents tipped employees doesn’t like the fact that Disney wants to take those tips into consideration. Guess why UniteHERE brings out 30 year employees making a dollar over minimum wage. They are mainly shop stewards and senior bartenders who make a lot in tips, union pay, retirements and more. Some make over $100,000 a year.

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