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    Ken Potrock: Measure A is wrong for Anaheim
    • July 9, 2023

    At Disneyland Resort the well-being of all our cast, including their overall employment experience, is at the heart of everything we do. But Measure A, the Anaheim hotel and event worker ballot measure, is bad for business and fundamentally unfair. That’s why we are joining the coalition representing more than 100 event venues, hotel owners, small businesses, nonprofits and residents that oppose this flawed initiative.

    But let me tell you what we do support — competitive pay, comprehensive benefits and growth opportunities for our cast, worker safety, the value of collective bargaining, and a vibrant and competitive Anaheim.

    Measure A requires hoteliers and others to pay employees at least $25 per hour. As part of our recent collective bargaining agreement, housekeepers at our three hotels will make a minimum of $25.50 per hour by mid-2024— so for Disneyland Resort this portion of the initiative is not a matter of finances, it’s a matter of principle.

    Measure A also institutes several onerous work rules that would make it nearly impossible for hotel owners to operate. Imagine this scenario …if a housekeeper cleans one extra square foot — yes, just one — beyond the set maximum, double pay (at least $50 per hour) would be required for the entire shift. What’s more, the workload of a housekeeper could substantially be reduced if their rooms to be cleaned are on more than a single floor, have more than one bed, or were not cleaned the prior day. Implementing these unrealistic rules is unreasonable and ultimately will make Anaheim uncompetitive.

    At Disneyland Resort we believe decisions about compensation and work rules belong at the bargaining table not the ballot box. For nearly 70 years we have worked with our 26 unions to successfully negotiate fair and equitable agreements. Through collective bargaining, we have contracts with strong starting wages, up more than 40% over the last five years. Today, many hourly roles begin at $20 per hour or above. This initiative completely circumvents negotiations — an end-around tactic being used statewide with a damaging ripple effect, essentially rendering the negotiations process as meaningless.

    We are committed to employee safety and already had mutually agreed to implement panic buttons for our housekeeping cast members. But thanks to a recently approved city ordinance requiring panic buttons at all Anaheim hotels, this issue is now off the table and can no longer be used to mask an initiative that will have significant consequences for so many hotels in our city.

    Hotels and small businesses, several that have been family-owned for generations, will be devastated by Measure A. With many still recovering from COVID-impacts and not yet fully staffed, they will have to shift costs to guests or close their doors entirely. Anaheim benefits from a unique tourism ecosystem and this wage increase will unequivocally make the cost of lodging in Anaheim more expensive, driving tourism dollars out of the city and leading to potential taxation of residents to make up for lost revenue.

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    Measure A further targets city-owned facilities. Anaheim’s own study shows that the Convention Center alone could be negatively impacted by about $8 million per year, and that labor costs could increase by 19% at Angel Stadium and Honda Center. This equates to less money for vital city-provided services. In addition, libraries, churches, sports facilities, and nonprofits with spaces of a certain size also would be affected.

    We are thankful to have bounced back after our extended closure and for our 34,000 cast members. We are proud of the wages, benefits and perks we offer including affordable healthcare starting at $7 weekly for eligible individuals, our Aspire 100% tuition-paid education program, financial support for childcare, theme park tickets, exclusive events and more.

    Our Disneyland Resort cast members are our top priority, and we will continue to do right by them, but Measure A is wrong for Anaheim.

    Ken Potrock is president of Disneyland Resort.

    ​ Orange County Register