At the end of 2018 Javier Terrazas and thousands of workers in the city of Anaheim celebrated the approval of Measure L, which mandates that the corporations of said tourist area – who receive reimbursements from the city – pay a minimum salary of $ 15 per hour to as of January 1, 2019.

The salary increase indicated by the norm, also known as the “Worthy Wage Ordinance”, will be $ 1 per year until it reaches $ 18 in 2022. Thereafter, the rate will be adjusted to the cost of living and is required for all Companies that have 25 or more employees.

However, it has been almost a year and Disneyland, the largest employer in the city of Anaheim, has not complied with the order – the workers claim. This is because, according to city officials, the company is exempt from the measure.

Meanwhile, hundreds of workers – like Terrazas – saw their hopes of having a better salary and being able to provide a better future for their families truncated.

He has worked for the past nine years as a banquet server at one of the Disneyland hotels and said he currently earns $ 12 per hour.

“We don't earn enough to support household expenses and needs. We are not getting what we deserve for our work and dedication to the company, ”said the father of five.

“The cost of living in Orange County is very expensive and forces me to have multiple jobs. Everything gets complicated, ”he added.

For this reason, Terrazas joined dozens of Anaheim residents, Disneyland workers, community allies and a coalition of unions this week to file an official complaint.
before the Superior State of California – which questions a violation of Measure L.

In figures

It is estimated that this year around 1,000 employees have been affected by Disneyland by not following the normal salary is expected to be much more by 2020.

Disney workers and allies offered a press conference on Monday to announce the formal complaint against the city of Anaheim. (Supplied)

Reports indicate that in 1996, the city of Anaheim handed out $ 510 million in bonds to finance the expansion of the Anaheim Convention Center and a Disneyland parking lot for $ 108 million.

The representative attorney in this case, Randy Renick, said that Disneyland has somehow managed to make it appear that the half million dollars they received from subsidies from the City in the past does not require them to be part of Measure L.

"If Disneyland receives subsidies from the city of Anaheim, then they must give back and prove they are paying a living wage," said Renick, who demanded that the employee's salary be raised to $ 15.

An improvement for the whole city

Measure L was the response of an economic survey by Occidental College in 2018 about Disneyland Resort workers.

The survey found that raising the minimum wage would help Anaheim's economy grow by raising the collective purchasing power of workers in the resort, by $ 190 million a year.

In addition, it would increase the amount that workers spend on vital needs such as housing, groceries, restaurant meals, medical care, car maintenance and child care.

It would also generate $ 210 million more in sales at local businesses in Anaheim and other communities where people live and work.

The lawyer Randy Renick of the firm Hadsell Stormer Renick Dai (center) is the legal representative of the workers. (Jacqueline García)

The lawsuit is supported by a coalition of unions that includes Unite Here Local 11, UFCW 324 and Workers United Local 50, so that no Anaheim worker suffers from the harsh costs of high living costs. Now, they are pressing the city to make sure the law is followed.

"For resort workers in Anaheim, Measure L was more than a law … For many, this was an opportunity to improve their lives and those of their families," said Maggie Valenzuela, interim executive director of Organized Communities for Responsible Development (OCCORD).

After the workers' press conference, Mike Lyster, a city spokesman, said Anaheim had a different opinion from the protesters and that after making a thorough review Disneyland "does not fall under the new ordinance."

"We read the language of the initiative and came to the legal opinion, by our city attorney that (Disneyland) is not included," he said.

All other businesses that must comply with the L measure are already doing so, Lyster said.

The Opinion requested a comment from Disneyland regarding the issue but until the close of the edition, it received no response.


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