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Hotel Union Turns In Signatures For Living Wage Initiative In Anaheim

Unions representing Anaheim hotel workers, Disneyland employees and other low-wage workers have collected more than 20,000 signatures to place an initiative on the city’s November ballot that would require hotels and businesses that receive public tax subsidies to pay their employees a $15/hour minimum wage.

The Coalition of Labor Resorts Union, which includes 11 unions, turned in the signatures to the city clerk office for verification May 1. 

An attendee holds up a sign during a meeting held by the Coalition of Labor Resorts Union.

The proposed measure would require businesses that receive city tax subsidies to pay their employees a $15/hour minimum wage starting in 2019. The wage would rise $1 a year to $18/hour by 2022.

The city’s current minimum wage is $11/hour.

The union needed to provide 13,185 signatures of registered Anaheim voters to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

Anaheim spokesman Mike Lyster said the city clerk has done an initial review and is preparing to send the collected signatures to the Orange County Registrar of Voters. 

“The Registrar will have 30 business days to verify that 13,185 of the submitted signatures are registered voters living in Anaheim,” Lyster wrote in an email to Bisnow. “We expect the Registrar’s certification review to be done in mid- to late-June.”

He said once the Registrar certifies the signatures, the Anaheim City Council could most likely discuss the item in July.  

The council could consider enacting the change or sending the item to the ballot, which in this case would be November, he said.

The signature collection is part of a push by unions and other advocates to increase minimum wage, something that is playing out on the national stage as well.

With the rising cost of housing, rent and food, unions representing hotel workers say their members are having a difficult time making ends meet, especially thoses living in Orange County. Union officials say the measure would allow their members to earn enough to live. 

The local union has directed its sights on Disney, Wincome Group and other luxury hotel developers, which the city council granted an estimated $700M of future transient occupancy tax revenue to build at least five new four-diamond hotels in the Anaheim Resort District.

Disney and the developers say the new luxury accommodations would bring in wealthier visitors that spend more on food and shopping and would boost the transient occupancy tax collected.