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Roughly 2,700 hospitality workers at the Disneyland Resort will get a $15 minimum wage, after members of UNITE HERE Local 11 ratified a new contract over the weekend.

The new minimum wage will take effect in January 2019, although hotel housekeepers will immediately see their wages rise to $15.80 an hour, according to a Disney press release. In addition to the wage increase, as a result of the negotiations Disneyland will add new, cheaper options for employee health insurance coverage, according to a union spokesman.

“The strides we have made to implement $15 an hour minimum wages will have an immediate and lasting impact on the quality of life of our cast members and their families,” said Josh D’Amaro, president of the Disneyland Resort. “Additionally, we are very proud to offer our cast peace of mind through affordable healthcare options and free educational opportunities with our groundbreaking new program called Disney Aspire.”

The deal for hotel workers comes after the company and four unions, which represent about 9,700 workers across the resort, agreed in July to raise the base wage to $15 an hour, with a 3 percent raise for employees already earning a wage at or above that threshold.

Disneyland worker unions have waged a public campaign for higher wages from the Disney Corporation since a measure qualified for the Anaheim general election ballot earlier this year which would raise the minimum wage for all city-subsidized businesses to $18 an hour by 2022. The November ballot measure requires any business receiving a city subsidy to pay that minimum wage, which increases every year based on the cost of living.

Statewide, minimum wages are set to rise to $15 an hour by 2023.

It’s unclear whether the wage initiative will apply to Disneyland, and if the ballot measure passes either side could take the issue to court.

In late August, the Anaheim City Council voted to cancel two major subsidy deals with the Disneyland Resort, including a $267 million subsidy for the construction of a new four diamond luxury hotel, and a moratorium on taxing parking and admission tickets.

City officials say, with the cancellation of those two deals, that the proposed November living wage ordinance will no longer apply to Disney, although one of the attorneys who helped draft the living wage measure disagrees.

The Disneyland Resort employs about 30,000 workers, roughly 23,000 of them unionized.

If the wage initiative applies to Disney, the company would have to pay all its workers the higher wage, regardless of whether they are represented by a union.

UNITE HERE Local 11 and the other Disneyland unions say they will continue to support the wage initiative.

In addition to the living wage ordinance, UNITE HERE has sponsored two other local ballot initiatives, measures J and K, which if opposed would invalidate development agreements for two luxury hotel projects by the Wincome Group.

The Wincome Group does not have a contract with UNITE HERE, prompting criticism from Councilwoman Kris Murray and others that the unions are using ballot measures as a contract negotiation tactic.

Contact Thy Vo at tvo@voiceofoc.org or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo. 

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