Disney/Wincome $15/hour Living Wage Initiative Will INCREASE Anaheim Jobs!


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I’m sure you know that right now, signatures are being collected for a November Anaheim initiative mandating a $15 an hour living wage to be paid by resort companies enjoying huge Anaheim taxpayer subsidies (basically Disney, Wincome and possibly Gardenwalk.) 

Meanwhile Disney and its allies, terrified of having to pay their loyal workers a fair wage, have been churning out desperate, shrill propaganda warning ad nauseam that the measure will cost the city over 4,000 jobs.

Not only is this claim untrue, but it’s the opposite of the truth – a living wage for thousands of working class Anaheim residents will have a ripple effect on the local economy leading to more employment opportunities as resort workers are freed up to spend more of their money.

How’d Disney’s propagandists come up with this ridiculous “job killer” claim?  Out of what dark place did they pull it?  Thankfully, they included a footnote: 

Council reports from 2013 and 2016.  Really.

Those are very familiar dates, in 2013 and 2016, for historians of the Anaheim kleptocracy. 

No, Disney and Wincome bean-counters did not sit down and determine that they’ll be forced to lay off 4,000 of their currently underpaid staff or replace them with automation rather than pay them $15 an hour.  May 2013 was the time of the original $158 million “GardenWalk Giveaway,” and July 2016 was the time of the approximately $700 million TOT giveaway to Disney and Hong Kong-based Wincome Group to build three “four-diamond” hotels.

And “over 4,000” is the total of new jobs that were promised with the building of these four subsidized hotels.  So what the resort propagandists are threatening is that, if Wincome, Disney, and the Gardenwalk hotel are forced to pay a living wage, they’ll just refuse to build those hotels.

First of all, this implied threat is preposterous, when you compute how profitable these hotels will be at current room rates – $350 to $450 a room at occupancy rates of 88% bringing Disney’s proposed 260-room hotel to about $51 million annual profit, which they’re saying they’ll forfeit rather than spend about $1 million to pay their employees fairly, the same that the Hilton and Sheraton pay their empoyees?  It makes no sense that they’d even consider that, and it’s grotesque that they’d threaten it.

Secondly, it’s good for us all to note that even as they cry “Job Killer Initiative,” these are not 4,000 EXISTING jobs that they’re threatening to slash, but future possible jobs that they’re threatening to not create.  (This is richly ironic coming from the same folks who claim that they’re not getting taxpayer “giveaways” because the hundreds of millions in TOT taxes that they’ve arranged to have returned to them is not money that exists yet.)

Finally, even if these three behemoths did get cold feet because their projected profits are not QUITE so huge as they had hoped, someone else would certainly build hotels there.  AND not demand taxpayer subsidies from you, but happily pay their TOT tax supporting Anaheim’s infrastructure and services that they and all of us depend on.

We could go on all day debunking the lies on this propaganda website, but there’s better use of our time.  What you, Anaheim voter, need to know before you sign to get this initiative on the ballot (signatures due May 1) and then vote on it in November, is: Is this fair and just, and will it work?

You need to hold two contrasting ideas in your head:  Disney’s immensely creative theme parks, movies and hotels bring joy to nearly everybody;  and meanwhile their business (unlike during Walt’s time) is being run by some of the greediest, most irresponsible people around.

I’ll give you just one amazing fact right now:  when you average in all big and small businesses, the typical CEO earns 5 times more than the lowest paid worker;  when you get to the largest, S&P 500 companies, the typical CEO earns 335 times more than the lowest paid worker.  Disney’s CEO Bob Iger sets a record, pulling in a gargantuan 9000 times his lowest paid worker.

There should be no doubt that Disney, with its perpetually hiked ticket prices, billions of profits, political maneuverings and taxpayer subsidies, can easily afford to pay its workers the same as their Anaheim resort district neighbors the Hilton, Sheraton and Marriot.

We want to get this out now, though we’ll add to it.  Because as they say, “A lie gets halfway around the world while the truth is still getting its boots on.”  And we’re still getting our boots on here.  But in case you missed these huge stories from the past half a year, you should really check them out.  And then sign and vote yes on our Living Wage Initiative:


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.