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Unions Set To Force Vote On Wage Increase For Disneyland Workers

ANAHEIM (CBSLA) – A coalition of unions which represent Disneyland workers says it has collected enough signatures to put a ballot measure before Anaheim voters that would require Disneyland to increase its minimum wage.

The coalition of 11 labor unions, which have been pushing for higher wages at Disneyland Resort, says it plans to present a petition with about 20,000 signatures to the Anaheim city clerk's office Tuesday morning, the Los Angeles Times reported.

If enough signatures are verified, the measure on the November ballot would ask voters to require Disney and other large Anaheim employers that accept city subsidies to pay workers a minimum of $15 an hour starting Jan. 1, 2019, with salaries rising $1 an hour every Jan. 1 through 2022, The Times reported. Once the wages reach $18 an hour, annual raises would then be tied to the cost of living.

This comes after a report released in February by researchers at Occidental College and the Economic Roundtable found that Disneyland Resort employees are paid so little, one in 10 experiences homelessness and two-thirds don't have enough food to eat.

Rebecca Petersen, a licensed cosmetologist and makeup artist at Disneyland, told CBS2 back in February that the low wages have forced her to live out of her car.

"I had to choose between my car and a roof and I said, 'well, my car is my ticket to money'," Petersen said.

Tara Quint, who works overnights cleaning the Disneyland park, says she can only make her rent because she shares a two-bedroom apartment in Anaheim with three others.

"I am on food stamps," Quint told CBS2. "I have a lot of health problems and I can't even afford the medical insurance that they have us do weekly out of our checks."

Following the report, union representatives encouraged workers to demand wages of at least $20 per hour.

Disneyland, meanwhile, in response to the study, claimed that the average Disneyland worker makes $37,000 per year, which comes out to about $17.80 per hour.

The unions say the measure is primarily targeting Disneyland, the city's largest employer with about 30,000 workers. They argue Disney is profiting from millions in taxpayer subsidies while employees struggle to pay their bills.

(©2018 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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