Bernie In Anaheim: Class Warfare Rhetoric Misses Resort Reality

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, the socialist from Vermont, brought his class warfare road show to Anaheim this past Saturday, tossing out the standard progressive tropes about “corporate greed” and throwing his support behind a union initiative to impose an $18 an hour minimum wage on targeted Anaheim Resort businesses.

Sanders tried to imbue the union initiative with a moral patina:  Sanders and the unions are moral champions of the downtrodden, while Disney and Resort businesses are immoral, exploitative and greedy. Progressive-Left politicos like Sanders employ that kind of rhetoric to mask the reality that their economic policies are stunted and don’t work in real life.  Sanders and the Berniecrats talk about the world as if it was still 1932.

The reality is the Resort union coalition’s minimum wage initiative is an attempt to use the coercive power of government to achieve what these unions have failed to achieve at the bargaining table. That failure in a time of tight labor markets and nearly full employment speaks volumes about the ineffectiveness of UNITE-HERE Local 11 and its Resort union allies.

Last week, the Disneyland Resort offered to increase the minimum wage of Master Services Council-represented cast members by 36% over three-years. That would put those cast members at a $15 minimum wage – two years before state law boosts it to that level.

The Master Services Council represents about 9,500 hourly cast members who work in attractions, store operations, custodial, main entrance, costuming, resort transportation & parking, onsite distribution center and select cast in team centers and bakery/confection. It consist of the following unions:

  • Teamsters Automotive, Industrial, Theme Park, Service Sector, and Allied Workers Local 495
  • United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 324 (UFCW)
  • Service Employees International Union – United Service Workers West (SEIU-USWW)
  • Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers International Union, Local 83

If accepted and ratified, these cast members would see their minimum wage immediately go from $11 to $13.25 per hour, then to $14.25 in 2019 and to $15 in 2020.

The Disneyland Resort and other Resort business want good employees. The competition for those employees in a tight labor market tends to put upward pressure on wages.

The reality is there is upward mobility for workers at the Disneyland Resort and other Anaheim Resort business. Some three-quarters of Disneyland management worked their way up from the hourly cast member ranks, because the company provides multiple pathways to learn and rise and be promoted from within. 89 percent of entry-level leadership roles in parks operations in the last five years have been filled by hourly cast members.

Earlier this year, Disney announced it would commit an initial $50 million – and at least $25 million annually thereafter – to provide tuition assistance and other support for its employees who are interested in earning a college degree or acquiring more job skills through vocational training.  Companies spend that kind of money because investing in the education and training of employees is smart business that benefits all involved.  If the “corporate greed” narrative of Bernie Sanders and his acolytes were true, these companies would simply add those millions to the mountains of profit that so torture the consciences of progressive activists,

In addition, the company provides multiple training and career development opportunities.  The fact that so many cast members want to make their career at Disney parks speaks to the strength of the overall employment experience, with 86 percent saying they are proud of their roles and the work they do, and 90 percent who believe Disney is a leader in the marketplace.

The Disneyland Resort employment numbers has 10,000 new jobs in recent years – for a total of 30,000 employees – making the resort the largest employer in Orange County. Thousands more operations jobs will be added to that number following the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and other expansion project – and that doesn’t include 2,000 construction jobs since 2016.

The class warfare rhetoric of Sanders, the Coalitions of Resort Labor Unions, and their political allies, just doesn’t bear up when staked against the economic reality.  Furthermore, their policy solutions – using government to dictate arbitrary and noncompetitive wage floors – destroy rather than create jobs and undercut prospects for advancement for the very people they claim to be helping.


  1. He describes Disney as though they are a struggling business that gives so much back to their employees. Several points. First, he talks about the money they provide to employees for college education. However, he fails to mention that cast members who are actively enrolled in college education have to work their college education around the Disney schedule which changes from week to week. Therefore, miss a shift, you are fired. Their college program allows for online education only. Secondly, he makes it sound like so many people are being promoted at Disney that the $11 an hour is just a stepping stone. Not the case. The largest majority of cast members remain at the $11 an hour for the majority of their employment. He also fails to mention the fact that 16% of the cast members are homeless or are unable to afford food and basic necessities on a regular basis. Oh, and let’s not forget that Disney reported profits last year of $6.8 billion. I suppose that the $200m, or less than 1% of their profits cannot go back to the people who help them earn it? This whole thing has less to do with politics and more to do with giving people a living wage that will help them meet their basic needs.

  2. Did Congressman Lou Correa welcome Bernie to his district?

  3. Don’t forget people that liberals took over Disney and are running it. The once conservative park and company are no more. So it’s wonderful liberals shorting the employees. Wonderful liberals that tout their support for liberal democrat ways and conservative rich are evil. Then there’s bernie and michael moore, the clintons , obamas and everyone else in hollywood that are rich but no one hates. Bernie only cares about higher wages so he can tax the crap out of them to buy votes from other people.

  4. It’s no longer talk. Thanks to minimum wage increases and threats, McDonald’s is rolling out self-order digital kiosks soon. Published today at 2:45pm.

    “A McDonald’s spokesperson told BuzzFeed that their locations will “still have cashiers — kiosks provide another option for customers to order and pay. We’re finding with kiosks, customers tend to feel less rushed, take their time, browse the menu, and often order more.”

    The rollout will be incremental over the next two years, with a goal of half the McDonald’s locations in America having digital kiosks by 2018 and complete offerings in every store by 2020.

    The announcement can also be seen as a direct reflection of minimum wage hikes around the country. In places like Seattle and San Fransisco, the minimum wage is $14.00 and above, making the margins on a service franchise untenable.

    BuzzFeed reports that the ballooning labor costs are already being felt by McDonald’s bottom line, citing McDonald’s payroll and employee benefits were up to 30.2 percent of sales, a sharp increase from 2017.

    The national “Fight For $15” has been embraced by prominent Democrats, such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.”

    I said this many times. Proposed wage increases will force management to evaluate your hourly work product and wage against technology. Its a promise if this wage craziness doesn’t stop, people will be standing in line looking for jobs and there will be slim pickings because of technology. That’s when it will be too late. What goes around comes around.

  5. Amazing how lame and uninformed some people are; entirely out of touch with their surroundings and how we business owners take pride in managing the P&L to ensure long-term success. A Mid-west McDonalds has had speaking kiosks in place since 2016, quite successfully too. That wouldn’t be the case if nobody used them.

    CEO Steve Easterbrook says kiosks have, for some time, been positively accepted in other countries, especially so in Asia. The US is the one lagging in implementation. I am not alone when saying owners like myself have valued offering PT & FT jobs to youth at reasonable pay; never thinking liberal loons would push $15 or $18 per hr wages with costly benefits pkg, and not consider how we will respond.

    We’re already watching the adverse job effects of $15 an hour wage in the Northwest and elsewhere. Read WaPo Max Ehrenfreund’s 6/26/17 article regarding Seattle’s wage push and its impact. Good judgment is fundamental to a successful business. Lol, Even Seattle’s slow move to high hourly wages is hurting low-income folks, even costs them money. These are the same people they claim to help. Bad judgment. The study shows its destroying jobs and outlook, but great for technology implementation and capital investment that gets depreciated and shows up for work 24/7.

    You all made your bed. Loon’s thought ATM’s wouldn’t take hold but did and put lots of teller people out of work. Why people wanted too much for the level of work. My large bank has at most two-tellers to handle business transactions, but most times one teller at a counter of five-six stations.

    McDonald’s kiosks are like those already in a nearby grocery store “chain” and a nearby retail store. I am no longer guessing, socialists, communists and loony liberals don’t pay attention to their surroundings or, don’t care. I bet the latter. Stores run self-serve systems in tandem with cashiers paid high (union) hourly wages, while management watches closely.
    Can’t count the times my wife and I walk into our local store and cashiers are fiddling behind the register while self-serve kiosks are buzzing. Even Home Depot and Verizon stores are moving towards self-serve systems. Mark my words, people enjoy them because they are faster than people, don’t make mistakes, don’t have to repeat items or waste time chatting. Course they require minor tech skills which is more common today. Kiosks and self-serve retail system will have a tremendous impact on the bottom-line and eliminate jobs. Yours may be next, unless…

    • “Kiosks and self-serve retail system will have a tremendous impact on the bottom-line and eliminate jobs. Yours may be next, unless…”

      UNLESS we accept minimum wage, right?

      Who are you again?

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