Anaheim voters were overwhelmingly against giving hotel and event workers a $25 minimum wage as 68% voted against it and 32% voted for it out of 29,085 votes counted by the OC Registrar of Voters as of 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The results came after city council members – a majority of whom were funded by resort interests in their campaigns – called for a special election despite concerns by workers that it would drive low voter turnout.
There are still about 2,309 ballots left to process, according to the OC Registrar of Voters website.
As of Tuesday night, a little over 17% of Anaheim voters casted a ballot, according to the registrar.
If approved, the measure also requires hoteliers to pay maids double if they clean more than 3,500 or 4,000 square feet of rooms in an eight-hour work shift. The square footage threshold varies depending on the overall size of the hotel.
It would also require greater workplace protections for workers and mandate a 3% annual pay increase for hotel and event center employees starting in 2026.
Anaheim voters are deciding on the $25 minimum wage measure in a city home to Disneyland and various resort interests– the same interests independent investigators and the FBI say essentially control city hall and policy making.
Proponents say the measure will help hotel workers on the brink of homelessness be able to afford rent amid rising housing costs and protect them from sexual assault and harassment on the job.
Local hoteliers and resort interests including the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce – an organization heavily caught up in the corruption scandal – have pushed back against the measure arguing that it would drive up prices and be detrimental to the resort industry’s success.
The special elections come as hotel workers have been conducting rolling strikes in OC and Los Angeles – where workers picket for a few days, then go back to work as another hotel workforce walks out.
The measure landed on a special election ballot after Unite Here Local 11 – a union representing hotel workers in Southern California – garnered more than enough signatures to put the wage increase initiative before the Anaheim City Council who decided to put the question to voters.
Both the union and resort interests have separately boosted the campaigns of nearly every Anaheim City Council Members’ campaign through independent expenditures on things like political mailers and digital advertising.
But resort interests have spent a far lot more on their preferred candidates – who hold a majority on the city council.
The California Hotel & Lodging Association has sponsored the “No on Measure A” political action committee that has raised close to $3.3 million – about half of which has come from Disney, according to city campaign finance disclosures.
“No on Measure A” signs can be found scattered throughout Anaheim, and YouTube ads for the campaign routinely play before videos for people living in the city.
Unite Here Local 11 has sponsored the “Yes on Measure A” political action committee which has raised $100,000, according to city campaign finance disclosures.
This story was updated to include Tuesday’s 10:30 p.m. ballot count update from the Orange County Registrar of Voters.
Hosam Elattar is a Voice of OC reporter and corps member with Report for America, a GroundTruth initiative. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter @ElattarHosam.
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